Native fish being bred in Narooma for Victoria

YOU didn’t think that fish could fly, but native estuary perch from Victoria have been winging their way up to Narooma in recent weeks.

Bruce Lawson of Narooma Aquaculture is working with Fisheries Victoria to boost stocks of estuary perch in that state’s waters.

Several batches of perch have already arrived at his Narooma property and have bred from producing larvae that are now growing out in his ponds.

Later this year, the baby perch will have grown to 25mm to 30mm long and will be ready to be picked up and transported by road back to Victoria.

Mr Lawson meanwhile continues to be involved in all kinds of fishy business, including looking at the feasibility of breeding and stocking jewfish or mulloway.

His Australian bass breeding program is already very highly respected with the fingerlings being stocked in waterways around the NSW.

Breeding perch on a commercial basis however has not been done before and he was able to use his previous experience with the other species to meet the specific needs of the species.

According to the Fishnet website, Fisheries Victoria last month staged its second “Great Perch Search” event on the Glenelg River at Nelson.

More than 100 perch were caught for the weekend, most of which were taken on various metal blades and vibes.

The website reports the aim of this project is to collect ripe adult brood stock to produce fingerlings planned for release in selected Victorian impoundments.

According to Brad Hodges, who was part of the recent brood stock collection team, more than 100 estuary perch were caught for the weekend, of which 46 were flown up to the Narooma Aquaculture hatchery on the NSW Far South Coast.

In conjunction with the hatchery breeder, Fisheries Victoria aim to produce and stock up to 90,000 perch fingerlings over the coming months.

As a result of last year’s event, 7000 juvenile perch bred in Narooma were stocked into Lake Bolac, many of which are now approaching lengths of up to 25 centimetres.

Apparently, this is as good as, if not better than, bass growth in Queensland impoundments, according to Fishnet.

Another “perch search” was conducted last weekend with more fish on the way to Narooma Aquaculture.

A charter plane with the fish lands at Moruya Airport from where Bruce picks them up for the drive down to Narooma.

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