Fish relocated as creek dries in drought

By Rodney Woods

A population of threatened native fish has been rescued from a drying creek at Tatong, near Benalla.

More than 30 Macquarie perch were extracted from an isolated pool in Hollands Creek and moved to deeper water in the same system.

The fish translocation was undertaken in partnership with the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and the Arthur Rylah Institute.

Goulburn Broken CMA river manager Mark Turner said it was important to move the fish because it was only a matter of time before they died.

“We’ve been keeping an eye on this pool and monitoring the oxygen levels, which had become worryingly low,” Mr Turner said.

“Macquarie perch is a very threatened species, there’s not many of them left.

“But we are fortunate to have seven of the small populations that remain in Victoria in the Goulburn Broken catchment.”

The fish were moved to Nillahcootie, further upstream in the Broken system where the flow is more reliable.

Scott Raymond from the Arthur Rylah Institute said it was important the fish stayed in the same system.

“The fish are in distinct genetic groups so we want to translocate them into populations which are most similar to the ones we’ve removed from Hollands Creek,” he said.

Dr Raymond said forecast dry conditions meant the movement of fish was likely to happen more frequently because authorities wanted to be prepared in case it did not rain.

“This work is really important because there’s only 11 populations of Macquarie perch left in Victoria and it’s crucial we don’t lose any of those populations.”