Flows help Silver Perch in the Murray
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.