Saving Maccas

Macquarie perch – fantastic, but also threatened. (Pic. Streamline Media)

Twelve years ago, I was invited up to Snobs Creek Hatchery to learn more about some modest successes Fisheries were having breeding Macquarie perch in captivity.

After a couple of days chatting with dedicated scientists and Fisheries staff – and watching them in action – three things played in my mind as I made the long drive home:

  1. Due to a number of vulnerabilities, these big, appealing south-eastern Australian natives were in desperate trouble as a species. 
  2. To secure their future, researchers would need to find a way to artificially breed them reliably and sustainably, and in large numbers.
  3. Compared to other south-eastern natives, at every step in the hatchery-to-wild process, Maccas were… difficult.

The article I subsequently wrote reflected a mixture of hope and concern. I remember the thought that, although it would be great if Maccas could one day become sufficiently abundant to once again be a realistic angling target, we simply owed it to these fish to prevent their extinction. It was the right thing to do.

Fast forward to 2022, and the passion of Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) staff – and their clients and colleagues – to save Maccas has not dimmed. But neither has fear for the fish’s future. Just in the last few days (and since completion of the film below) new evidence suggests that redfin numbers may be expanding in Lake Dartmouth, perhaps the last best refuge for wild Macquarie perch. Historically, redfin have been one of the biggest threats to Maccas. 

This film, shared with kind permission of VFA, says it all really. Time is running out for Maccas, and broad angler support (not to mention broad agency and political support) for their recovery, has never been more vital.