History is brewing in the waters of Brogo Dam, with the first ever release of estuary perch into NSW waters scheduled on Monday.
The stocking is a combined effort of Far South Coast Bass Stocking Association and Fisheries NSW which has been 18 months in the making.
FSCBSA have been stocking and counting Australian bass in Brogo Dam for over 20 years and president Darren Redman is excited to grow the program.
“They’re an endangered species, estuary perch have been netted to near extinction right along the east coast,” he said.
“We’re regenerating the stock in our local system, reintroducing them in the hope they will begin repopulating naturally.”
The estuary perch are released as fry when they are about the size of a fingernail. Mr Redman said this is the best stage to release them because they can feed independently and haven’t develop a dependency on humans for food.
It was also recently announced that a new fish friendly weir will be installed to allow fish migration in and out of the dam, which is vital for both bass and estuary perch that breed in saltwater.
FSCBSA plans to release 10,000 estuary perch on Monday and another 10,000 next year. Their population will be surveyed throughout the program by Dr Chris Welsh from Fisheries NSW.
Narooma aquaculturalist Bruce Lawson will supply the estuary perch fry. His fish have previously been sourced for stocking programs in Victoria.
Mr Redman is confident the new residents in Brogo Dam will flourish.
“We’re estimating a survival rate of about 95 per cent,” he said.
“They’re a robust fish, they’ve been known to survive in water temperatures from 5 degrees all the way up to 45 degrees.”
The Bega and Brogo rivers are no longer commercially fished, increasing the estuary perches’ success.
For recreational anglers, the stock in Brogo Dam provides a controlled and sustainable fishing experience.
The Brogo Bass Bash fishing competition on December 2 and 3 raises funds for the FSCBSA’s Australia Bass stocking program.
“We bring in about $5000 over the weekend, it’s a not-for-profit weekend so it all goes back to our stocking,” Mr Redman said.
Fisheries NSW matches FSCBSA’s investment dollar for dollar, but are fully funding the estuary perch stocking program with money sourced from NSW fishing licence fees.
The FSCBSA has invited the public to attend and assist the with the estuary perch release on Monday, December 4 from 9am at Brogo Dam.
“It’s for fishers, but also families,” Mr Redman said.
“We’re keen to get kids involved in fish stocking to ensure it continues in the future.”