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Action Taken to Protect Native Fish

AUSTRALIA - The threat of two species of native fish in the South East facing local extinction has prompted action by the Department for Environment and Heritage (DEH).

A status review of freshwater fish carried out in the South East late last year indicated that Yarra Pygmy Perch and River Blackfish populations were declining drastically across the region.

Both species are endangered at a state level, while the Yarra Pygmy Perch is listed as vulnerable at a national level, reports The Border Watch.

A captive maintenance and breeding program is considered to ensure their long-term survival, according to DEH wetlands ecologist Scott Slater.

“In order to maintain these fish species in the South East, DEH is in the process of developing an action plan that includes the capture and recovery of both species, and their relocation to aqua culture facilities at Kingston Community School,” Mr Slater said.

The schools aquaculture facilities are an ideal environment in which to house and monitor native fish species. The aquaculture facilities manager Phil Obst has also been instrumental in helping the captive breeding program run so efficiently.

Over the coming months the local community, in particular students of Kingston Community School, will be fortunate enough to experience first hand how the captive breeding program works.

This will give them a greater awareness and understanding of the impact that drought has on our ecosystems.

The captive breeding program is planned to run for three years and it is expected that the first viable juvenile fish will be produced from the facility in 12 months.

The next step in the recovery process is to stock local ponds and dams with juvenile River Blackfish and Yarra Pygmy Perch produced at Kingston Community School, Mr Slater said.

Our ultimate goal is to return both fish species back into their native habitat.

the Fish Site Editor

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