Golden Perch (2020)
Date Published: June 2021
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Golden Perch is an inland species found throughout most of the Murray-Darling Basin, the Lake Eyre and Bulloo drainage systems, and the Dawson-Fitzroy River systems of southern QLD. While available evidence indicates some population structuring at both the drainage system and finer scales, differences in data availability and management arrangements among states and territories mean that this assessment is presented at the jurisdictional level. Golden Perch in QLD and NSW are classified undefined, in VIC as recovering, and in SA as sustainable.
Photo: Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales
Stock Status Overview
Golden Perch occur throughout most of the Murray–Darling system, except at high altitudes, as well as in the Lake Eyre and Bulloo drainage systems of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, and the Dawson-Fitzroy river system in southern Queensland [Lintermans 2007]. Translocated fish also occur in numerous other waterways and impoundments throughout south-eastern Australia [Allen et al. 2002].
Golden Perch in the Murray-Darling Basin are genetically distinct from Golden Perch in the Lake Eyre, Bulloo and Fitzroy systems [Faulks et al. 2010a,b; Beheregaray et al. 2017]. Murray-Darling Golden Perch form a well-connected metapopulation with low-level basin-wide population structure, reflecting their ability to migrate and disperse long distances [Faulks et al. 2010b; Beheregaray et al. 2017; Attard et al. 2018; Zampatti et al. 2018a]. However, subtle genetic differences and regional differences in population structures driven by unique recruitment sources suggest sub-structuring across some regions. Examples include the Lower Lakes [Earl et al. 2015] and Paroo River [Attard et al. 2018], and potentially the physically disconnected and hydrologically impacted Victorian tributaries of the Murray River and some NSW tributaries of the Barwon-Darling (e.g. Lachlan River [Shams et al. 2020]). Sub-structuring is also evident in the Lake Eyre Basin [Faulks et al. 2010b]. Although genetic studies suggest the existence of several biological stocks, there are differences in management arrangements and available information in the various jurisdictions that access Golden Perch.
To account for these differences, assessment of stock status is presented here at the jurisdictional level—Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Commercial harvest of Golden Perch in Victoria ceased in 2001 and there is no recent information on recreational harvest or effort at state level. In the absence of consistent, long-term estimates of population abundances and harvest by recreational anglers, the status of Golden Perch in Victoria was assessed using nominal catch estimates and length composition from infrequent and irregular fishery-independent (electrofishing) surveys of six indicator riverine populations (Broken Creek and River, Campaspe River, Goulburn River, Gunbower Creek, Loddon River and Wimmera River) [Conron et al. 2020].
In recent years, electrofishing survey catch per unit effort (CPUE; number of fish per machine minute) has increased in four indicator rivers (Campaspe River, Goulburn River, Gunbower Creek and Wimmera River), remained stable in one river (Broken Creek and River) and declined in one river (Loddon River) [Conron et al. 2020]. CPUE for Broken Creek and River, and Loddon River were below the average CPUE for the reference period (1996–2015, with the start year of the reference period for each river varying according to the year of initial survey) in the last two years of assessment, while CPUE since the early 2010s for the Campaspe River, Goulburn River, Gunbower Creek and Wimmera River have been above the average for the reference period.
All six indicator rivers are stocked annually with hatchery-bred juveniles, which may be masking natural recruitment. Regular stockings into the Campaspe, Goulburn and Loddon rivers is making a substantial contribution to populations [Ingram et al. 2015, Tonkin et al. 2019]. All Golden Perch sampled from the Campaspe River above Rochester were stocked and the majority of fish sampled from the Goulburn and Loddon rivers were stocked [Tonkin et al. 2019]. Despite regular stocking, the CPUE in the Loddon River has been declining since 2014. There is no information available to determine if stocked fish are contributing to fisheries in the Broken Creek and River, Gunbower Creek and Wimmera River.
There is no information on fishing pressure, biomass and size composition for Golden Perch in impoundments in Victoria, where populations are largely sustained by stocking rather than natural recruitment. In 2019, 3.23M Golden Perch were released across Victoria [https://vfa.vic.gov.au/recreational-fishing/fish-stocking, accessed on 29-Oct-2020].
On the basis that CPUE appears to be increasing in four of six indicator rivers it is anticipated that the Golden Perch stock will continue to improve under favourable environmental conditions to support some natural recovery of populations.
Overall, the above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is likely to have been depleted and that recruitment was impaired. Furthermore, the above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality should allow the stock to recover from its recruitment impaired state.
On the basis of the evidence provide above, Golden Perch in Victoria is classified as a recovering stock.
[Roberts et al. 2008; Forbes et al. 2015; Mallen-Cooper and Stuart 2003]
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
27 years; 640 mm TL
~225–371 mm TL; ~2–4.9 years. Variable across geographical regions.
Distribution of reported commercial catch of Golden Perch.
|Hook and Line|
|Customary fishing permits|
Queensland – Indigenous (management methods) for more information see https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/traditional-fishing.
Victoria – Indigenous (Management Methods) A person who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is exempt from the need to obtain a Victorian recreational fishing licence, provided they comply with all other rules that apply to recreational fishers, including rules on equipment, catch limits, size limits and restricted areas. Traditional (non-commercial) fishing activities that are carried out by members of a traditional owner group entity under an agreement pursuant to Victoria’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 are also exempt from the need to hold a recreational fishing licence, subject to any conditions outlined in the agreement. Native title holders are also exempt from the need to obtain a recreational fishing licence under the provisions of the Commonwealth’s Native Title Act 1993.
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