Photo by Gunther Schmida
The Southern purple spotted gudgeon is a small-bodied, endangered species of native fish. They inhabit rivers, creeks and wetlands with slow-flowing or still waters which have overhanging grassy vegetation.
Unfortunately, due to the introduction of invasive species, such as carp, gambusia, and redfin, they are rarely found in rivers. Nowadays, they are more likely found in small or medium-sized creeks where pest fish are not present or only in low numbers. They also require low turbidity.
Southern purple spotted gudgeon require waterways with low turbidity and lay their eggs on hard surfaces such as rocks and snags.
These surfaces are now often covered by silt, depriving the fish of a place to lay their eggs. Predation from gambusia and perch, along with the loss of habitat, means that populations of Southern purple spotted gudgeon are under threat.
They are to be found in some coastal catchments north of the Clarence River, and in the Murray Darling Basin in sections of the Wambuul Macquarie catchment, the Gwydir catchment and the Border Rivers catchment.
On Behalf of NSW DPI Fisheries, OzFish will remove invasive weeds, such as willow, elm and sweet briar, from the site and restore native vegetation, including river oak (casuarina cunninghamiana) and river bottlebrush (callistemon sieberi). This will play a role in shoring up the creekbanks and reducing erosion, which will improve water quality and turbidity.
The restored vegetation will overhang the waterway, providing food as insects drop and a source of habitat in the creek when branches fall into it. The overhanging trees will also provide shade for native fish in the water and reduced turbidity will enhance the ability of the Southern purple spotted gudgeon to lay eggs.
NSW DPI Fisheries are fencing off the creek from stock to further reduce erosion, siltation, and loss of riparian and in-stream vegetation. Off-stream watering points will be installed for stock to drink from.