With the help of modern science, OzFish Unlimited, is on a mission to find out if the Kangaroo River Perch is 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 Darling Basin, but genetic analysis indicates it’s a completely separate species and unique to the freshwaters of the Shoalhaven/Kangaroo Rivers.
The Kangaroo River Perch looks much like a Macquarie Perch – silvery to dark grey in appearance, sometimes with a mottled pattern, a prominent lateral mid-line and white-ish eye. The Kangaroo River species is usually smaller. The main point of difference is the distribution – we have a good idea about where these fish naturally occur. Genetically they are vastly distinct.
OzFish together with NSW Department of Primary Industries, local Land Services and the University of Canberra will partner in the project.
If it isn’t found, it will be one of Australia’s first freshwater fish extinctions.
If it is, it will be offered the best protections which will include preserving its natural habitat and having it listed under state and national law as a threatened species.
OzFish recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to generate the resources needed to commence the research and it’s already having local anglers contact them about possible catches and sightings they’ve had over the years in the area.
Craig Copeland, OzFish Founder and CEO is thrilled by the response from anglers and hopes more will come forward with information and support.
“We are really excited about the potential to rediscover a species that has been a part of The Shoalhaven River system for thousands of years,” said Mr Copeland.
“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 DPI Fisheries 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 $20,000 target set to get it off the ground. Funds really need to come through for this project to get off the ground.
“We’re throwing in a yearly membership if you pledge $50.00 or more. This will help us set up a local Chapter in the Shoalhaven region. We are really keen to have local anglers and community members interesting in protecting and restoring fish habitat become part of OzFish and our work.”
Help us in our search by donating to OzFish “Search For The Perch” Campaign and become a member today.
Environmental DNA leaves tiny traces of evidence in the water where previous sampling efforts have been too coarse to detect. Samples of water are funnelled through a filtration backpack. The filters are then taken back to the lab where they are analysed against species ’primers’ which are basically barcodes that tell us if a species is present or not in that sample. While the technology is still being improved, we are at a point now where it can give a very accurate reading.
OzFish Unlimited is a national environmental charity established as a member-based organization focused on fish habitat restoration and supporting recreational fishers in these actions. Our work includes; resnagging of rivers, restoration of wetlands, shellfish reefs and riparian zones, fish passage improvements, contributing to research and monitoring to support these efforts as well as educational and community capacity building programs.