Recovering Macquarie perch in bushfire affected areas

Macquarie perch are an endangered native freshwater fish species, with isolated populations across Victoria, NSW and ACT.

Populations were severely impacted by the 2019-20 black summer bushfires, through a loss of streamside vegetation and an increase in sediment and silt into the waterways. This loss of habitat has resulted in reductions in fish numbers and spawning habitat, reducing breeding opportunities and the ability of the species to recover without our help.

In 2021, the VFA and partners including the Women in Recreational Fishing (WIRF) Network, Corryong Angling Club, Ovens Landcare Network, Upper Murray Landcare Network and North East Catchment Management Authority and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, have been successful in securing a $181,523 Landcare funding grant to help recover the species in bushfire affected areas of North East Victoria.

This Landcare-led Bushfire Recovery project is supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.

Image above courtesy Tom Goldstraw
Forest Fire Management Victoria

Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants program support recovery projects impacted by the Black Summer bushfires.

Community and Landscape scale partnership projects focus on species and habitat restoration both in those areas that were severely affected by the bushfires, which are now, more than ever, vital to protect.

These projects bring together a diverse range of experience and expertise from on-ground Landcarers and community groups, Traditional Owners, researchers, subject matter experts, Not-For-Profit organisations and more.

The Program has been supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.

What is being done to save Macquarie perch

This project will use a partnership approach and combine habitat restoration efforts, with restocking and community engagement to enhance the recovery and maximise the resilience of Macquarie perch populations in bushfire affected areas.

Specifically, this project will:

  • Restore streamside and instream fish habitat for remnant and restocked Macquarie perch

  • Improve the breeding of the species at Snobs Creek fish hatchery to restock Macquarie perch into bushfire affected rivers including the Buffalo River, King River and Cudgewa Creek

  • Connect and engage the community including local Landcare groups, Traditional Owners, angling clubs and other groups in bushfire recovery for Macquarie perch.

Where

The focus on of the project is on the following bushfire affected streams in North East Victoria:

  • Buffalo River upstream of Nug Nug
  • King River upstream of Cheshunt
  • Cudgewa Creek

When

The project commenced in August 2021 and will be completed by April 2022.

The partners

The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) will oversee the coordination of the project, breed and grow Macquarie perch for restocking, as well as assist with promotion of the Landcare Bushfire Recovery project.

Ovens Landcare Network

The Ovens Landcare Network will contribute to the project by providing volunteers to assist with the community planting days and restocking events.

Upper Murray Landcare Network

The Upper Murray Landcare Network will contribute to the project by providing volunteers to assist with the community planting days and restocking events.

North East Catchment Management Authority

The North East Catchment Management Authority (NECMA) will facilitate site access, landholder negotiations and the coordination of on-ground works (including the supply of materials such as trees, fencing material etc).

Corryong Angling Club

The Corryong Angling Club will contribute to the project by providing volunteers to assist with the community planting days and restocking events.

Women in Recreational Fishing Network    

The Women in Recreational Fishing Network will provide women-power will contribute volunteer community time to revegetation planting days and restocking events and assist with promotion of the Landcare Bushfire Recovery project.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will contribute to the project by funding the broodstock collection of Macquarie perch and a follow up scientific survey of the Buffalo River, as well as assisting with community engagement in the project.

For more information about this project, please contact

Taylor Hunt, Acting Manager Freshwater Fisheries:

Taylor.hunt@vfa.vic.gov.au

0418 478 028

John Douglas, Fisheries Manager:

John.douglas@vfa.vic.gov.au

0447 545 139