Victorian Landcare Magazine - Summer 2017, Issue 68

Fish Circus recruits supporters for the Macquarie perch

p8 fishing hero2

Above: The Fish Circus featured a demonstration of electro-fishing.

By Fiona Lloyd

Name:

For more information about the subject of this story

Name:
Christine Glassford
Email:
Website:
www.gbcma.vic.gov.au

The once widespread Macquarie perch has declined dramatically since the 1920s, with remaining populations relatively small and isolated. For the past few years the Goulburn Broken CMA has been working with local communities to protect Macquarie perch populations in the Yea River and the Hollands, King Parrot, Seven and Hughes creeks.

Coordinating the Hughes Creek effort is Goulburn Broken CMA’s River Health Officer Christine Glassford.

“We are aiming to improve the length, number and condition of the riffles and pools within the Hughes Creek and eventually reconnect this population to the Goulburn River and other isolated populations in the King Parrot Creek and Yea River,” Christine said.

As well as habitat improvement works a number of events have been organised to capture the broader community’s interest in native fish. Hundreds of people from across the region turned up to a Fish Circus held in Avenel last September.

“The event evolved from a suggestion from local community member David Palmer for a carp fishing competition,” Christine said.

“David raised his concerns about the large number of carp in the Hughes Creek following a fishing trip where he was able to catch nothing else. As well as cleaning up the carp, we saw the day as a terrific way to raise awareness of the need to protect and improve habitat for native fish species such as Macquarie perch.”

A local family, the Steers, hosted the event on their property. As well as the carp fishing competition, the day involved demonstrations and displays from Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI), Waterwatch, Turtles Australia and professional carp fishermanKeith Bell. The local Hughes Creek Landcare Group contributed by organising children’s activities and entertainment.

For the past few years the Goulburn Broken CMA has been working with local communities to protect Macquarie perch populations in the Yea River and the Hollands, King Parrot, Seven and Hughes creeks.

Fish volunteers help with habitat

Native Fish Australia (NFA) volunteers have also been keen to get involved in the Macquarie perch project.

“The NFA volunteers, along with native fish expert Will Trueman, ARI and Goulburn Broken CMA staff spent a day in early 2016 working with local landholders to relocate timber from the adjoining land into a stretch of creek that had been identified as a priority area for habitat improvement,” Christine said.

“It was quite an operation. The farm manager’s tractor and operating skill proved to be invaluable for shifting the larger pieces of material. Smaller limbs were manoeuvred into log jams by hand, then secured to improve depth and shelter. Though these smaller pieces are more likely to shift in high flows, it is expected they will not move far before getting caught up in the large wood structures installed downstream.”

 

Young artist Quillan Parker enjoys the activities at the Fish Circus held at Avenel in 2016.

Above: Young artist Quillan Parker enjoys the activities at the Fish Circus held at Avenel in 2016.

“The NFA volunteers, along with native fish expert Will Trueman, ARI and Goulburn Broken CMA staff spent a day in early 2016 working with local landholders to relocate timber from the adjoining land into a stretch of creek that had been identified as a priority area for habitat improvement,” Christine said.

“It was quite an operation. The farm manager’s tractor and operating skill proved to be invaluable for shifting the larger pieces of material. Smaller limbs were manoeuvred into log jams by hand, then secured to improve depth and shelter. Though these smaller pieces are more likely to shift in high flows, it is expected they will not move far before getting caught up in the large wood structures installed downstream.”

The NFA volunteers also helped plant hessian bags containing indigenous sedges and rushes in staggered groupings across a large sand slug at Wicket Hill, upstream of the Macquarie perch stronghold.

The works are designed to reduce the power of the water when it passes over the sand during high flows and increase the stability of the sand deposits. Reducing the amount of sand that moves during floods will help to protect the important refuge pools downstream.

“Community efforts to improve habitat is critical to support this population growth and expand the range of Macquarie perch, along with other
native species that have been mirroring these positive changes, like trout cod and blackfish,” Christine said. 

More information about the Hughes Creek Project can be found under the current projects tab at www.gbcma.vic.gov.auor contact Christine Glassford at christineg@gbcma.vic.gov.au

 

   

Above: Fish Circus Avenel 2015


By Fiona Lloyd

Name:

For more information about the subject of this story

Name:
Christine Glassford
Email:
Website:
www.gbcma.vic.gov.au