With the help of modern science, OzFish Unlimited, Australia’s only fishconservation charity, is on a mission to find out if the Kangaroo River Perchis still surviving.
It’s was last recorded in the wild over 20 years ago.
The native fish is a relative of the Macquarie Perch from the Murray DarlingBasin, but genetic analysis indicates it’s a completely separate species andunique to the freshwaters of the Shoalhaven/Kangaroo Rivers.
The Kangaroo River Perch looks much like a Macquarie Perch – silvery to darkgrey in appearance, sometimes with a mottled pattern, a prominent lateral mid-line and white-ish eye. The Kangaroo River species is usually smaller. Themain point of difference is the distribution – we have a good idea about wherethese fish naturally occur. Genetically they are vastly distinct.
OzFish together with NSW Department of Primary Industries, local Land Servicesand the University of Canberra will partner in the project.
If it isn’t found, it will be one of Australia’s first freshwater fishextinctions.
If it is, it will be offered the best protections which will includepreserving its natural habitat and having it listed under state and nationallaw as a threatened species.
OzFish recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to generate the resourcesneeded to commence the research and it’s already having local anglers contactthem about possible catches and sightings they’ve had over the years in thearea.
Craig Copeland, OzFish Founder and CEO is thrilled by the response fromanglers and hopes more will come forward with information and support.
“We are really excited about the potential to rediscover a species that hasbeen a part of The Shoalhaven River system for thousands of years,” said MrCopeland.
“We’re looking to see if any anglers have seen it since it was last sighted.If so, they can get in touch with OzFish or log the sighting in the DPIFisheries threatened species reporting tool.
“Information from the community can really help us to narrow the search area,in addition to advice from some of the best fisheries scientists in Australia,we will certainly be in the best position to give this our best shot.”
OzFish are calling on the public to pledge a donation to reach the $20,000target set to get it off the ground. Funds really need to come through forthis project to get off the ground.
“We’re throwing in a yearly membership if you pledge $50.00 or more. This willhelp us set up a local Chapter in the Shoalhaven region. We are really keen tohave local anglers and community members interesting in projecting andrestoring fish habitat become part of OzFish and our work.”
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