Conservation work can sometimes be a little depressing but we have some great news from one of the projects in the lab. Recent fieldwork on Hindmarsh Island resulted in the capture of 45 southern pygmy perch (including pregnant females) at one of the sites where fish from the captive breeding program were released in 2011. This represents the largest number of this species found in the area since before the drought.
This work is part of the PhD project of MELFU’s Chris Brauer and is also a subproject on an ARC Linkage on restoration and conservation genetics of fishes from the lower Murray Darling Basin. In this project we implemented captive breeding programs for four endangered freshwater fish using genetic information to reduce inbreeding in captivity. Reintroduction and monitoring of captive-born fish is underway.
Although pygmy perches have a long way to go before reintroduced populations can be considered as established in the lower MDB, the good number of recaptures is certainly a promising sign for the future. Thanks go to Nick Whiterod from Glenelg Nature Trust for assistance in the field.