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Yarra Pygmy Perch in the Murray-Darling Basin

As part of ongoing monitoring, the MDBA and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office commissioned the University of Adelaide to find out if Yarra Pygmy Perch reintroduced into the Lower Lakes after the Millennium Drought were still present in the wild. The project surveyed 32 sites in the Lower Lakes in late 2018 and, unfortunately, found no evidence of Yarra Pygmy Perch. This means the reintroductions were not successful and the species is now likely absent from the Basin, or at best, extremely rare.

The survey recorded 22 other fish species, including the vulnerable Southern Pygmy Perch (present at 12 of 32 sites), which needs similar habitat to the Yarra Pygmy Perch. The survey also found Murray hardyhead, at seven sites. The survey found Redfin Perch, a pest fish that preys upon these threatened species, was present at 31 of the 32 survey sites.

The results show the importance of water for the environment to support the habitat and conditions that allow fish such as the Yarra Pygmy Perch to recover in the wild. Future relocation programs will need careful site management, including management of water levels, control of pest fish species, and improvements to local habitat.


Determining the status of the Yarra Pygmy Perch in the Murray–Darling Basin