Flows help Sil­ver Perch in the Mur­ray

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page -

Re­search on the life ex­pectancy of the Sil­ver Perch (Bidyanus bidyanus) in the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin has high­lighted the im­por­tant role of floods and en­vi­ron­men­tal flows in the species’ re­cov­ery.

“Sil­ver Perch were once the most wide­spread of the na­tive fish species in the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin, but num­bers have de­clined dra­mat­i­cally,” said sci­en­tist from the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning (DELWP)’s Arthur Ry­lah In­sti­tute (ARI), Zeb Tonkin.

“This re­search has found that large flood events and en­vi­ron­men­tal flows play a crit­i­cal role in the life cy­cle of the fish by aid­ing dis­per­sal, growth and sur­vival of ju­ve­nile fish.

“While Sil­ver Perch can live up to 17 years of age in river en­vi­ron­ments, this re­search has found that cur­rently only a small pro­por­tion of fish in the Mur­ray River live be­yond seven years of age.

“The Mur­ray–Dar­ling Basin Author­ity’s (MDBA) 2017 En­vi­ron­men­tal Wa­ter­ing Pri­or­i­ties now in­clude the need for suitable flows for Sil­ver Perch ev­ery year.

“The 2017 pri­or­i­ties also in­clude ad­di­tional flow mea­sures that can help the sur­vival of Sil­ver Perch and help dis­perse them to other suitable habi­tats.

“En­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter hold­ers and wa­ter man­age­ment agen­cies are work­ing to­gether to de­liver the flows Sil­ver Perch re­quire.

“Co­or­di­nated flow re­leases have been ef­fec­tive in help­ing Sil­ver Perch dis­perse from the Mur­ray River into the Cam­paspe and Goul­burn sys­tems.”

Sil­ver Perch is na­tion­ally listed as crit­i­cally en­dan­gered un­der the En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion and Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Act 1999. The re­search was funded by the MDBA.

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