Native fish recovery stocking after floods
Over 1.26 million native fish are planned to be stocked across nine Victorian waterways this summer, to help them recover from flooding and blackwater impacts in Spring 2022.
The VFA is working closely with Arthur Rylah Institute, DEECA, Catchment Management Authorities, VRFish, angling associations and recreational fishers to help recover flood affected native fish populations through a combination of native fish salvage, fish translocation and native fish recovery stocking.
Through consultation with key stakeholders, flood recovery stocking of native fish is occurring in nine flood affected waters across the Goulburn Broken and North Central catchments. Please see the below table of increased native fish recovery stocking in these affected waters:
|Flood affected waterway||2021/22 (pre flood stocking)||2022/23 (flood season)||2023/24 planned flood recovery stocking|
|Broken Creek||9,900 Murray cod, 1,270 golden perch||34,500 golden perch||30,000 Murray cod, 120,000 golden perch|
|Little Murray River||8,600 Murray cod||30,000 Murray cod||30,000 Murray cod, 30,000 golden perch|
|Pyramid Creek||Zero||25,000 Murray cod||20,000 Murray cod, 20,000 golden perch|
|Loddon River||82,500 Murray cod, 60,000 golden perch||206,000 Murray cod, 41,600 golden perch||180,000 Murray cod, 145,000 golden perch|
66,300 Murray cod, 28,000 golden perch
|68,000 Murray cod, 108,500 golden perch||60,000 Murray cod, 100,000 golden perch, 5,000 trout cod|
|Gunbower Creek||60,000 Murray cod, 0 golden perch||60,000 Murray cod, 65,000 golden perch||50,000 Murray cod, 70,000 golden perch|
|Boosey Creek||3,000 Murray cod, 7,700 golden perch||3,000 Murray cod, 3,500 golden perch||3,000 Murray cod, 5,000 golden perch|
|Kangaroo Lake||50,000 Murray cod, 100,000 golden perch||105,000 Murray cod||200,000 Murray cod, 200,000 golden perch|
|Hughes Creek||Zero||2,000 Macquarie perch||2,000 Macquarie perch|
*Note: Golden perch production and stocking in the summer of 2022/23 was seriously impacted from the 2022 floods, however large numbers of golden perch and Murray cod are expected to be produced and stocked in the summer of 2023/24.
Recent monitoring of native fish populations in ten waterways across Victoria (the Native Fish Report Card Program) show that despite flooding in 2022, most populations have increased in abundance or remained steady. This suggests that fisheries management interventions such as fish stocking, regulations and habitat, combined with good environmental conditions, have contributed to resilient native fish populations.
Captive breeding programs are also underway to boost the production and stocking numbers and recovery of threatened native fish species such as trout cod, Macquarie perch and purple spotted gudgeon.
For further information, please feel free to call or email Taylor Hunt, Fisheries Manager on 0418 478 028 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In Spring 2022, many Victorian waterways suffered devastating native fish kills due to major flooding and associated low dissolved oxygen. The low dissolved oxygen was caused by large swathes of organic material being inundated and subsequently decomposing.
Significant fish deaths occurred in the Little Murray River, Broken Creek, Boosey Creek, Gunbower Creek, Loddon River, Kerang lakes, and the Murray River at Echuca and Swan Hill.
Over 2,000 native fish and Murray Spiny Freshwater Crayfish were rescued from waters including Gunbower Creek, Pyramid Creek, Taylor’s Creek, Racecourse Lake, Phyland Lagoon, Broken Creek and the Murray River from Echuca to Mildura.
Around 550 native fish, including Murray cod, golden perch, silver perch and trout cod, were relocated from the Gunbower Creek system to areas with good water quality in the Campaspe and Loddon rivers.
Around 1,200 native fish and crayfish were temporarily held in Government and private hatcheries in Victoria and NSW, under the watchful eye of hatchery staff while they and their waterways recovered.
At our Snobs Creek Fish Hatchery, the team received and cared for highly endangered Purple Spotted Gudgeon and Tandanus catfish.
At our Arcadia Native Fish Hatchery, the team received and cared for Murray cod, golden perch, silver perch and Murray Spiny Freshwater Crayfish.
When water conditions returned to normal, the native fish and crayfish were returned to their homes with help from recreational fishers, indigenous groups and Catchment Management Authorities.
A small number of these fish were retained by our hatcheries as broodstock for restocking affected waters, in particular, distinct genetic strains of Purple Spotted Gudgeon, which will form an important component of the conservation breeding and stocking program for this species.
Overall, the efforts to rescue, relocate, care for, breed, and restock native fish will help native fish populations and fisheries recover and demonstrate we are responsive to community and environmental needs.