Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Endangered
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice for Macquaria australasica (Macquarie Perch) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2013fi) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Policy Statements and Guidelines Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened fish. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.4 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2011i) [Admin Guideline].
 
Draft referral guidelines for the endangered Macquarie perch, Macquaria australasica (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2011t) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
ACT:Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australasica): an endangered species. Action Plan No. 13 (ACT Government, 1999d) [State Action Plan].
ACT:Ribbons of Life: ACT Aquatic Species and Riparian Zone Conservation Strategy (ACT Government, 2007a) [Report].
ACT:Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australasica). An endangered species (ACT Government, 2014) [Information Sheet].
NSW:Threatened fish and marine vegetation: NSW Department of Primary Industries: Macquarie Perch (NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2005) [Internet].
NSW:Endangered species - Macquarie perch (NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), 2005h) [Internet].
SA:Action plan for South Australian freshwater fishes (Hammer M., S. Wedderburn & J. Van Weenen, 2009) [State Action Plan].
State Listing Status
ACT: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1980 (Australian Capital Territory): 2013 list)
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria): February 2014 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Data Deficient (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
SA: Listed as Extinct (Action Plan for South Australian Freshwater Fishes 2009 list)
VIC: Listed as Endangered (Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria: 2013 list)
Scientific name Macquaria australasica [66632]
Family Percichthyidae:Perciformes:Actinopterygii:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Cuvier, 1830
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images
http://www.mdbc.gov.au/education/encyclopedia/wildlife/fish/macquarie_perch.htm ;
http://www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au/thr/species/fn-macquarie-perch.htm

Scientific name: Macquaria australasica

Common name: Macquarie Perch

Preliminary studies found fixed allelic differences between fish taken from west of the Great Dividing Range and fish taken from east of the Great Dividing Range (Dufty 1986). Collaborative studies (between the University of New South Wales and NSW Fisheries) revealed further allelic, meristic (quantitative features) and morphometric differences (Dufty 1986). It was concluded that three genetic stocks exist: west of the Great Dividing Range, the Hawkesbury River and the lower Shoalhaven River (Dufty 1986).

Genetic work conducted by the NSW Department of Primary Industries shows that the Mongarlowe River population (Shoalhaven catchment) is a Murray-Darling translocation sourced from the Murrumbidgee River. In addition, based on mitochondrial DNA of a single locus of one specimen, it was found that the Kangaroo River population (also Shoalhaven catchment) is genetically different stock. Within the Murray-Darling, there appear to be three distinct stocks of Macquarie Perch; one from each of the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Lachlan River systems (Lintermans 2006).

Populations in the Hawkesbury and Shoalhaven river systems possibly constitute a separate species from fish in the Murray-Darling river system (Gehrke et al. 2001). Recent phylogeographical studies confirm that the remaining populations of Macquarie Perch are highly subdivided, with high levels of genetic diversity (Faulks et al. 2009).

The Macquarie Perch is a moderate-sized fish with an elongate-oval body which is laterally compressed. The lateral line is obvious and there are conspicuous open pores on the lower jaw (Lintermans 2008). Macquarie Perch have been recorded growing to 46 cm and 3.5 kg within the western distribution of their range, but are distinctly smaller in maximum size at maturity in the eastern distribution of their range where they grow to less than 25 cm and 1.5 kg. In the Murray-Darling Basin the species varies from almost black or dark silvery grey to bluish grey or green-brown above, paler to off-white below, often with a yellowish tinge. In the Shoalhaven and Hawkesbury River systems, fish are usually blotched with grey-brown, buff and dark-greyish over the head and body and can be pale grey-brown when living in shallow sandy streams (Allen 1989a; McDowall 1996).

The Macquarie Perch was once widespread through the cooler upper reaches of the southern tributaries of the Murray-Darling river system (Anonymous 1974; McDowall 1996), however, its distribution did not usually extend to the source of these rivers (Lake 1971). Although rare downstream in the Murray River, this species occurred in the Barmah Lakes region and nearby tributaries such as Broken Creek (Cadwallader 1981; Lake 1978; McDowall 1996) and the upper reaches of the Macquarie River system (Trueman 2007). Prior to 1970, this species was recorded at 52 localities within its natural geographical range in the Murray-Darling Basin. However, since then it has been recorded at only 20 localities (Cadwallader 1981). The Murray-Darling form of the Macquarie perch is still known to exist in waterways of Victoria, NSW and the ACT. The eastern form is confined to the Hawkesbury-Nepean and Shoalhaven river systems including a number of Sydney's water supply reservoirs (Ingram et al. 2000).

Victoria
Of the Macquarie Perch in the Murray-Darling, only small discrete populations remain in the upper reaches of the Mitta Mitta, Ovens, Broken, Campaspe and Goulburn Rivers in northern Victoria (Ingram et al. 1990). A larger, apparently self-sustaining translocated population exists in the Yarra River in Victoria, and is potentially the most secure in the country. The Macquarie perch is also known to persist within the Eildon Reservoir, situated on the Goulburn River (McDowall 1996).

New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory
Macquarie Perch have declined considerably from their historical distribution within NSW and they are now considered isolated to the upper reaches of the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee Rivers in southern NSW (Ingram et al. 1990). In the ACT the species is restricted to the Murrumbidgee, Paddys and Cotter Rivers (Lintermans 2002). It was previously known to occur in the Molonglo River, but was last recorded in the river in about 1980 (Lintermans pers comm 2009). It is also found in low numbers in the Mongarlowe River, where the population is considered likely to be the result of a translocation from the Murray-Darling Basin (Lintermans 2008). Other populations exist in the Cataract Dam in the Nepean River catchment, as well as a 2008 record from Georges River near Campbelltown, the first record from the river since 1894 (NSW DPI 2008a). It persists in the Burrinjuck, Cotter (Murrumbidgee) and Wyangala impoundments (McDowall 1996). A breeding population in the Queanbeyan River upstream of the Googong Reservoir exists solely due to a translocation of individuals from the reservoir past a natural barrier (Lintermans 2006). The Googong reservoir population is believed to be effectively extinct. Macquarie perch may occasionally become displaced downstream from the Queanbeyan River into Googong, but they do not form a population in the reservoir (Lintermans pers comm 2009).

Fish from coastal catchments are morphologically and genetically distinct from fish in the Murray-Darling Basin (Dufty 1986). Although some experts consider these differences warrant taxonomic differentiation, no such separation has occurred. Although it has been suggested that coastal populations were translocated from the Murray-Darling Basin (Cadwallader 1981; Lake 1971), no records of translocation to coastal rivers (excluding Cataract Dam) have been documented for the Hawkesbury or Shoalhaven populations.

Of the many recorded translocations of this species from within and outside its natural range, few translocated populations remain or have self-sustaining breeding populations (Cadwallader 1981). Macquarie Perch were translocated from the upper Murrumbidgee River near Cooma to two locations in the Snowy River. However, since then, no fish have been recorded at that location (Lintermans 2006). The populations in Cataract Dam (NSW) and the Yarra River (Victoria) were translocated from the Murray River (Lintermans 2006).

The largest remaining populations of Macquarie Perch occur in Lake Dartmouth on the Mitta Mitta River (Victoria) and several isolated populations in the Goulburn River catchment (Victoria), including Hughes Creek and the upper reaches of the Seven Creeks system (Cadwallader 1981). The Mitta Mitta River population now appears to be in decline, with marked reductions in angler catches within Lake Dartmouth. A translocated population located in the Yarra River near Warrandyte (Victoria) appears to be large and self-sustaining, and may be the most secure population in the country (Douglas 2002, cited in Ryan et al. 2003). The Macquarie Perch is also known to persist within the Eildon Reservoir, situated on the Goulburn River (McDowall 1996).

The NSW Rivers Survey (1994–1996) demonstrated that, in NSW, Macquarie Perch were present only in low numbers at three sites in streams above Lake Wyangala and Burrinjuck Dam (Schiller et al. 1997). Hawkesbury and Shoalhaven River populations, including in large impoundments, seem abundant and generally occur upstream of Australian Bass (Macquaria noveamaculata) populations (Harris & Rowland 1996). Other populations exist in the Cataract Dam in the Nepean River catchment, as well as a record in 2008 from Georges River near Campbelltown (NSW DPI 2008a). Records have also been made in the Dharawal State Conservation Area, the Metropolitan Special Area and in adjacent areas around Appin (Bio-Analysis Pty Ltd 2009).

Ingram and colleagues (1994) note that breeding programs have been unsuccessful in rearing large numbers of Macquarie Perch for reintroduction into areas within its former distribution.

The Macquarie Perch is a riverine, schooling species. It prefers clear water and deep, rocky holes with lots of cover. As well as aquatic vegetation, additional cover may comprise of large boulders, debris and overhanging banks (Cadwallader & Eden 1979). Spawning occurs just above riffles (shallow running water). Populations may survive in impoundments if able to access suitable spawning sites (Wager & Jackson 1993).

Spawning sites used by the Macquarie Perch in the rivers flowing into Lake Eildon (between 1966–69) consisted of rubble substrate of small boulders, pebbles and gravel. Water depth was 0.2–0.9 m (usually 0.4–0.6 m) and water velocity was 0.3–0.6 m/s. There was also a pool (usually 15–30 m long and at least 1.5 m deep) immediately upstream, and fast-flowing broken water immediately downstream. Although this species can tolerate temperatures of < 9 °C (the temperature of the water at the bottom of Lake Eildon) they appear to require a temperature of at least 16.5 °C for spawning to occur. Newly hatched yolk sac larvae shelter amongst pebbles (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977). In Seven Creeks, this species occurred in deep pools and riffles above falls where the substrate was gravel and boulders (Brumley et al. 1987).

Males of this species have been reported to reach maturity at as early as two years of age when they are about 210 mm in length, but females do not spawn until three years of age when they are about 300 mm in length (Lake 1971). One study showed that the majority of males matured at 290–300 mm corresponding to an age of more than three years, but the smallest maturing male fish was only 134 mm, 50 g and around two years of age. In the same study, the smallest mature female examined was 212 mm, but most females matured between 250–300 mm, corresponding to more than three years of age (Appleford et al. 1998). Wharton (1973) suggested that fish of 195–225 mm are one year old, fish of 230–250 mm are two years old, and fish of 400–425 mm are five years old. Appleford and colleagues (1998) suggested that size, not age, at first maturity is highly variable and dependent on ambient conditions and the natural productivity of the site. They also theorised that age, rather than size, may be the trigger for the onset of gonadal maturation.

Cadwallader and Rogan (1977) studied populations around Lake Eildon (Victoria) and noted that spawning commenced at four years of age and continued until 10 years of age. The results of Appleford and colleagues (1998) indicate that ovarian development appeared to commence early in the year (February–April), and then paused until August. On resumption of maturation, development proceeded rapidly to reach the gravid-gonad stage by late October or early November. In contrast, development of the testes remained at background levels until August when a rapid advancement of maturation occurred to produce running-ripe males by October/November (Appleford et al. 1998).

Recaptures of tagged fish suggest some fish use the same river each year for spawning. Spawning migrations from Lake Eildon into the inflowing Delatite, Howqua, Jamieson, Goulburn and Big Rivers did not occur until water temperatures reached 16.5 °C. Because of different temperature regimes, the timing of spawning migration and spawning differed from river to river (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977). Spawning generally occurs during spring and early summer in shallow, fast-flowing water over gravel beds. The eggs, which are adhesive, stick to the gravel (Lake 1971; Wharton 1973). When spawning, females remain close to the substrate, usually in groups of two or four, accompanied by one or two males (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977). Wharton (1973) and Cadwallader and Rogan (1977) estimated fecundity to be 30 000 eggs per kg of mature female. Wharton (1973) measured the diameter of unfertilised eggs as 2 mm and the diameter of fertilised, water-hardened eggs as 4 mm.

Hatching commences 13 days after fertilisation and is completed by 18 days after fertilisation at water temperatures of 11–18 °C (Wharton 1973). Gooley (1986) noted that hatching commenced more quickly in higher water temperatures (i.e. in 10–11 days at 15–17 °C and 5–6 days at 18–20 °C). Newly hatched larvae range from 4.4–6.5 mm in total length (Gooley 1986). In impounded waters, hatched fish soon moved back downstream to the lake habitat from upstream spawning sites (Cadwallader & Douglas 1986), but it is not clear if any of this movement was through active swimming or entirely passive (i.e. taken by the current). Juveniles in hatchery ponds averaged around 83 mm in length at seven months of age (Wharton 1973).

In lower Cotter River, larvae of Macquarie Perch (<10 mm) were observed in the mid to upper water column (<1 m depth), along steep rock-faces (within 0.3 m), in deep sections of pools (>1.5 m) and in low or no-flow areas (Broadhurst et al. 2012). Larvae schooled in small groups (~5–30 individuals) and typically moved deeper in the water column when approached. Juvenile Macquarie perch were observed close to the substrate, often associated with boulders, cobbles or large woody debris. Highest densities of juveniles were found in these types of habitats at the head and tail of pools, where some surface flow was present. Juveniles generally inhabited depths of 0.2–1.0 m, and were occasionally observed at depths of 1.5 m (Broadhurst et al. 2012).

Analysis of the stomach contents of 14 fish (taken from Lake Eildon and inflowing rivers during the 1966–69 spawning seasons) showed that insects and larvae form a substantial part of the Macquarie Perch diet (Lake 1971). Results indicated that the primary food items consisted of the nymph/adult stages of flies and mosquitoes (Order Diptera), caddisflies (Order Trichoptera) and mayflies (Order Ephemeroptera); while secondary food items comprised stoneflies (Order Plecoptera), dragonflies and damselflies (Order Odonata), bugs (Order Hemiptera) and beetles (Order Coleoptera) (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977).

The basic food of 204 individuals taken from Hughes Creek, the Seven Creeks River system (tributaries of the Goulburn River, Victoria), and the Mitta Mitta River (Victoria) consisted of beetles, flies and mosquitoes (particularly Family Chironomidae), mayflies and caddisflies. Secondary food items included Crustacea, bugs, damselflies and gastropod snails (Order Mollusca). Large fish (115–287 mm) ingest their food by a sucking action and fed on a greater diversity of food types than small fish (46–65 mm) with decapods found to replace dipterans as the preferred food source (Lintermans 2006). This species is basically a bottom feeder and only takes a small proportion of its food at the water surface (Cadwallader & Eden 1979). In diet studies, the role terrestrial insects played in the diet was minimal (Lintermans 2006), supporting the species' bottom-feeding nature.

During the initial filling phase of Lake Dartmouth, this species fed on typical river-dwelling organisms such as mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies that were carried into the lake by inflowing rivers. However, they also consumed terrestrial organisms that became displaced as the water level rose, and still or slow water organisms such as shrimps (Order Decapoda: Family Atyidae) and cladocerans (Order Crustacea: Family Daphniidae). The numbers of these latter aquatic organisms rapidly increased in the newly created lake (Cadwallader & Douglas 1986).

Macquarie Perch inhabiting Lake Eildon and Lake Dartmouth undertake an upstream spawning migration in mid spring to early summer when water temperatures reach around 16.5 °C (Cadwallader & Douglas 1986; Cadwallader & Rogan 1977), after which adults usually move from the streams to the lake (Cadwallader & Douglas 1986). Migration may not be necessary in stream dwelling fish (Gooley & McDonald 1988).

In one study of 30 tagged fish in the Yarra River (outside of the species natural range), the fish typically occupied restricted reaches of stream (<450 m), with 16 undertaking movements of up to 1000 m in response to large flow variations during the spawning season (Koster et al. 2013). In this study there was no evidence of syncronised migratory behaviour or movement of multiple fish to specific locations (Koster et al. 2013).

Surveys should not be conducted throughout the breeding season of October to mid January. Surveys conducted during this period may disrupt the breeding cycle of the species, and could have a significant impact on the Macquarie Perch.

Recommended methods
Macquarie Perch are difficult to survey since they are a furtive, nocturnal species. Methods which do not enmesh fish but which collect an adequate sample size are limited. Recommended survey methods include:

  • boat electrofishing in lakes/dams
  • backpack electrofishing in smaller streams less than approximately 1.5 m in depth
  • fyke nets can successfully capture large numbers of juvenile Macquarie Perch, but do not always collect a representative sample of adult fish. Fyke nets should be equal to or less than 9 mm mesh to prevent mortalities
  • place traps in preferred habitat like emergent macrophytes and areas where banks are undercut. To prevent drowning of trapped non-target mammals (such as platypus), fyke nets should be set partially out of the water to create an air space
  • snorkelling in clear streams for coastal populations
  • catch-and-release angling by skilled anglers using lures with barbless hooks during February–April could also be considered.

Changes in habitat caused by river siltation, river regulation, reduced spawning habitat access and the effects of predation and competition from introduced species have caused a drastic decline in both the abundance and range of the Macquarie Perch (ACT Government 1999d; Anonymous 1974; Lake 1971). Local extinction of this species from catchments can be the result of a number of factors. For example, the virtual disappearance of this species from Lake Eildon was probably caused by a combination of habitat alteration, overfishing of spawning stock, predation by exotic fish species and competition for food with exotic fish species (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977).

River siltation
Removal of riparian vegetation, land use changes and construction activities all have the potential to increase the sediment input to rivers and streams. Silt filling deep holes and settling on the river bottom provides unfavourable conditions for the demersal (bottom dwelling) eggs and blankets rocky substrate and interstitial spaces (Cadwallader 1981; Lintermans 2006). Silt also affects the composition of the benthic fauna that forms the main component of the Macquarie Perch's diet (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977). The most viable populations of this species remain in the upper reaches of river catchments where siltation loads are reduced and deep holes, interspersed with shallow riffles, are relatively undisturbed (Cadwallader 1981).

River regulation and degradation
Instream barriers such as dams, weirs and road crossings can limit fish migration, prevent fish reaching spawning and feeding areas, interrupt genetic transfer between populations, cause fish populations to fragment, and reduce water temperatures below impoundments (ACT Government 1999d; Cadwallader 1981; Lake 1971; Lintermans 2008). Within the Murray-Darling Basin, there are more than 3600 structures that are known to impede fish passage (Koehn 2005). Macquarie Perch populations present in reservoirs require unimpeded access to inflowing streams for spawning (Lintermans 2006). Barriers can prevent fish gaining access to these important spawning sites or re-colonising areas after drought or local catastrophes (Koehn 2005). Fast-flowing water through culvert pipes may be just as impassable as a vertical weir to most native fish species (Lintermans 2006).

Altered flow regimes as a result of large dams and reservoirs have a major impact on Macquarie Perch ecology. Altered regimes generally involve reduced flow of water downstream, and reduced frequency and magnitude of natural flooding, leading to reduced habitat quality, loss of spawning cues, and reduced opportunities for dispersal and migration (Lintermans 2008).

The release of cold water from the base of water storages affects most river reaches where Macquarie Perch were historically found. Macquarie Perch rely on temperature cues to initiate spawning movements (Lintermans 2002). Discharge of cold water from large dams can prevent Macquarie Perch breeding (Lintermans 2008). Cold water release during spawning has been implicated in the disappearance of two separate populations of Macquarie Perch in the Mitta Mitta River following the construction of Dartmouth Dam (Koehn et al. 1995).

Habitat degradation
Additional habitat degradation in the Murrumbidgee River catchment has resulted from the effects of sand and gravel extraction, heavy metal pollution and urban development (ACT Government 1999d).

Degradation caused by fire regimes
The 2003 ACT wildfires resulted in reduced foliage cover of streams and extensive siltation of some Macquarie Perch habitats in the Cotter and Goodradigbee Rivers. The fires also damaged riparian vegetation at these locations and probably reduced leaf litter inputs into streams for many years (Lintermans 2006). Water quality can also be affected by extreme bushfires resulting in consequent ash poisoning and siltation of waterways.

Drought
Persistent drought has also impacted remnant populations in the Queanbeyan River with fish failing to recruit during the 2002/2003 spawning seasons, and possibly longer (Lintermans 2006).

Recreational fishing
In NSW, this species has been protected since 1994 (Harris & Rowland 1996), but illegal fishing continues (ACT Government 1999d). A review of recreational fishing practices in the ACT proposed a total ban on taking the species and this proposal received widespread community support (ACT Government 1999d). In 1959, about three tonnes of Macquarie Perch were caught from one pool in the Goulburn River on the first morning of the open season (Anonymous 1974). Such concentrated overfishing of spawning aggregations has contributed to its decline (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977). In the Seven Creeks system, the lack of exploitation by anglers has probably allowed this species to persist in a small area of suitable habitat (Brumley et al. 1987). The population of this species in Lake Dartmouth is subjected to a closed season during spawning (Koehn & O'Connor 1990a).

Introduction of exotic fish
Exotic fish introductions have occurred for recreational angling, commercial angling and biological control reasons, and as a result of accidental aquarium releases and interbasin water transfers. Macquarie Perch face competition and predation from species such as European Carp (Cyprinus carpio), Redfin Perch (Perca fluviatilis), Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) (Gilligan 2005).

Trout have been recorded to feed on small Macquarie Perch (Butcher 1967). In addition, Macquarie Perch may not be able to compete successfully with trout for food (Jackson 1981). Netting in the Goulburn River, near Jamieson, in November/December 1971 yielded 128 fish of which 62 (48.4%) were Redfin, 53 (41.4%) were Goldfish (Carassius auratus), 12 (9.4%) were trout and only a single Macquarie Perch (0.8%). This indicates that introduced species now dominate the fish fauna in this region (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977). Introduced Trout and Redfin adversely affect Macquarie Perch through competition for food items, such as aquatic insects (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977). One event includes the introduction 750 000 Rainbow Trout and more than 250 000 Brown Trout into Lake Eildon in 1958–1967 (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977). Redfin Perch also appeared in Lake Eildon as a result of deliberate introductions and as a result of being washed out of farm dams that were inundated during the initial filling of the lake (Cadwallader & Rogan 1977). Increases in the stocking rate of Rainbow Trout coincided with the decline of Macquarie Perch in the upper Murrumbidgee River more than any other factor (Gilligan 2005).

Damaging parasites and disease
Macquarie Perch is reported to be infected by two parasitic protozoans, several nematodes and the parasitic copepod Lernaea cyprinacea (Ashburner 1970; Beumer et al. 1982; Merrick & Schmida 1984; Robinson 1981). Carp or Redfin Perch are considered to be the source of the Australian populations of Lernaea cyprinacea(ACT Government 1999d; Langdon 1989a). The viral disease Epizootic Haematopoietic Necrosis Virus has been responsible for the death of large numbers of Redfin in south east Australia, mainly in outbreaks in early summer among juveniles (Langdon & Humphrey 1987). There is preliminary experimental evidence that Macquarie Perch is also highly susceptible to the virus and the virus may have been partly responsible for the rapid decline of the population in Lake Eildon (Langdon 1989a, b). There is concern that this virus will impact upon the remaining populations of this species (ACT Government 1999d; Koehn & Morison 1990). The Murrumbidgee and the Googong Reservoir populations have been exposed to the virus and it is highly likely that the Queanbeyan River population has also been exposed through the movement of infected adult trout between the Reservoir and the River (ACT Government 1999d).

Carp, Goldfish or Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) are implicated as the source of the introduced tapeworm Bothriocephalus acheilognathi, which has been recorded in native fish species (ACT Government 1999d; Dove et al. 1997). This tapeworm causes widespread mortality in juvenile fish overseas (ACT Government 1999d). Investigations into the interactions between Macquarie Perch and the introduced fish species that share its range are critical to understanding the degree of threat to Macquarie Perch populations (ACT Government 1999d). Parasite and disease analysis of introduced fishes occurring within the distributional range of Macquarie Perch is desirable to assess and evaluate the risk of the transfer of these parasites and pathogens to Macquarie Perch.

Three key management options are identified for the Macquarie Perch: stocking of hatchery-bred fish; translocation of wild fish; and habitat protection or enhancement (Lintermans 2006). However, further actions are identified by the NSW and ACT Governments.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (2005) lists the following priority recovery actions in the management of the Macquarie Perch:

  • disseminate current knowledge of this species and identify knowledge gaps
  • survey populations, map habitats and determine ecological requirements
  • assess threats
  • improve understanding of genetic differences of this species
  • implement legislative options for the protection of Macquarie Perch habitat
  • restore riparian vegetation
  • eradicate pest species
  • monitor current angling regulatory regimes and determine whether they need modification
  • install signage at key locations to increase the awareness of this species protected status
  • develop a recovery plan
  • allocate environmental water flows in regulated rivers to lessen the impact of unnatural flows and temperature patterns
  • prevent hydrological degradation.

The ACT Government aims to protect the Macquarie Perch through prevention of Carp and Redfin Perch invasion into the Cotter River. Environment ACT highlights the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Cotter Dam as a barrier to upstream fish colonisation, especially during the planned reconstruction/augmentation of the Cotter Dam (ACT Government n.d.). In addition, the feasibility of translocating Macquarie Perch past the barrier of Vanity's Crossing will be investigated, as well as the improved surveying to assess the distribution of this species in Paddys River (ACT Government n.d.). Environment ACT is providing signage along the Murrumbidgee and Cotter Rivers in the ACT to assist anglers in identifying threatened fish species (ACT Government n.d.).

Total bans on the capture of Macquarie Perch exist in the ACT and NSW. The capture, keeping and trading of Macquarie Perch is controlled by legislation in Victoria (Ingram et al. 2000). Aggregations of Macquarie perch during spawning runs are particularly susceptible to fishing pressure (ACT Government 1999d).

Government Funding
The Friends of the Mongarlowe River received $11 400 through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 2006–07 for habitat assessment and species monitoring, production of a conservation information package for the community, targeted and general community awareness, and identification of ongoing conservation needs for the Macquarie Perch.

Management documents for the Macquarie Perch include:

  • Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australica): an endangered species. Action Plan No. 13 (ACT Government 1999d).
  • Threatened fish and marine vegetation: Macquarie Perch (NSW Department of Primary Industry 2005).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Biological Resource Use:Fishing and Harvesting Aquatic Resources:Illegal take Macquaria australasica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nv) [Internet].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat modification through open cut mining/quarrying activities Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica): an endangered species. Action Plan No. 13. Page(s) 16. (ACT Govt, 1999b) [State Action Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Endangered Native Fish. Freshwater Fisheries Newsletter. 7:9-15. (Anon, 1974) [Journal].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Carassius auratus (Goldfish) The Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica (Pisces: Percichthyidae) of Lake Eildon, Victoria. Australian Journal of Ecology. 2:409-418. (Cadwallader, P.L. & P.L. Rogan, 1977) [Journal].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Gambusia holbrooki (Eastern Gambusia, Mosquitofish) The threat posed by pest animals to biodiversity in New South Wales (Coutts-Smith, A.J., P.S. Mahon, M. Letnic & P.O. Downey, 2007) [Management Plan].
The Asian fish tapeworm, Bothriocephalus acheilognathi, in Australian freshwater fishes. Marine and Freshwater Research. 48:181-183. (Dove, A.D.M., T.H. Cribb, S.P. Mockler & M. Lintermans , 1997) [Journal].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Oncorhynchus mykiss (Rainbow Trout) The Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica (Pisces: Percichthyidae) of Lake Eildon, Victoria. Australian Journal of Ecology. 2:409-418. (Cadwallader, P.L. & P.L. Rogan, 1977) [Journal].
Macquaria australasica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nv) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Perca fluviatilis (Redfin, Redfin Perch) Macquaria australasica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nv) [Internet].
Prevention and control of fish diseases in the Murray-Darling Basin. In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Native Fish Management, Canberra. Page(s) 163-173. (Langdon, J.S., 1989a) [Proceedings].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Salmo trutta (Brown Trout) The Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica (Pisces: Percichthyidae) of Lake Eildon, Victoria. Australian Journal of Ecology. 2:409-418. (Cadwallader, P.L. & P.L. Rogan, 1977) [Journal].
Macquaria australasica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nv) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation Cyprinus carpio (European Carp, Common Carp) The Asian fish tapeworm, Bothriocephalus acheilognathi, in Australian freshwater fishes. Marine and Freshwater Research. 48:181-183. (Dove, A.D.M., T.H. Cribb, S.P. Mockler & M. Lintermans , 1997) [Journal].
Prevention and control of fish diseases in the Murray-Darling Basin. In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Native Fish Management, Canberra. Page(s) 163-173. (Langdon, J.S., 1989a) [Proceedings].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Infection by parasites A checklist of the parasites of fishes from Australia and its adjacent Antarctic Territories. Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau, Institute of Parasitology Technical Communication No. 48. (Beumer, J.P., L.D. Ashburner, M.E. Burbury, E. Jette & D.J. Latham, 1982) [Report].
Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
The Asian fish tapeworm, Bothriocephalus acheilognathi, in Australian freshwater fishes. Marine and Freshwater Research. 48:181-183. (Dove, A.D.M., T.H. Cribb, S.P. Mockler & M. Lintermans , 1997) [Journal].
Prevention and control of fish diseases in the Murray-Darling Basin. In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Native Fish Management, Canberra. Page(s) 163-173. (Langdon, J.S., 1989a) [Proceedings].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Predation, competition, habitat degradation and/or spread of pathogens by introduced species Macquaria australasica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nv) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Presence of pathogens and resulting disease Macquaria australasica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nv) [Internet].
Prevention and control of fish diseases in the Murray-Darling Basin. In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Native Fish Management, Canberra. Page(s) 163-173. (Langdon, J.S., 1989a) [Proceedings].
Epizootic haematopoietic necrosis, a new viral disease in redfin perch, Perca fluviatilis L., in Australia. Journal of Fish Diseases. 10:289-297. (Langdon, J.S. & J.D. Humphrey, 1987) [Journal].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition, grazing, predation and/or habitat degradation by rats Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Macquaria australasica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nv) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes to hydrology including construction of dams/barriers Macquaria australasica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nv) [Internet].
Freshwater Fishes and Rivers of Australia Page(s) 61. (Lake, J.S., 1971) [Book].
Pollution:Pollution:Changes to water and sediment flows leading to erosion, siltation and pollution Macquaria australasica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nv) [Internet].

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Macquaria australasica in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 22 Aug 2014 03:35:40 +1000.