Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Contribution of stocked fish to riverine populations of golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) in the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia

David A. Crook A D G , Damien J. O’Mahony A , Bronwyn M. Gillanders B , Andrew R. Munro B E , Andrew C. Sanger C , Stephen Thurstan C and Lee J. Baumgartner C F
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, 123 Brown Street, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.

B Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories, Darling Building DP418, School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

C New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, 3/556 Macauley Street, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia.

D Present address: Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Ellengowan Drive, Casuarina, NT 0909, Australia.

E Present address: Commercial Fisheries Division, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 333 Raspberry Road, Anchorage, AK 99518, USA.

F Present address: Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre, LaTrobe University, University Drive, Wodonga, Vic. 3948, Australia.

G Corresponding author. Email: david.crook@cdu.edu.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 67(10) 1401-1409 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF15037
Submitted: 28 January 2015  Accepted: 4 August 2015   Published: 13 October 2015

Abstract

Stocking of native fishes is conducted to augment riverine fisheries in many parts of the world, yet most stocking activities are conducted without empirical information on their effectiveness or impacts. In the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB), Australia, stocking has been underway for several decades to maintain recreational fisheries. We stocked chemically tagged golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) fingerlings in three rivers to determine the proportions of stocked fish within populations of the species. Stocked sites were monitored for up to 5 years in the Murrumbidgee River, Edward River and Billabong Creek and non-stocked sites were monitored in the Murray River. Catch per unit effort of stocked year classes increased substantially in Billabong Creek, with stocked fish contributing 100 (2005), 79 (2006) and 92% (2007). Chemically tagged fish comprised 18–38% of the respective age classes in the Murrumbidgee and Edward rivers and there was little evidence of natural recruitment in the non-stocked Murray River. Tagged fish generally attained the legal minimum size within 4 years and had dispersed up to 60 km from the original release location. Our results demonstrate that artificial stocking has the potential to strongly influence the abundance and population structure of golden perch in rivers of the MDB.

Additional keywords: calcein; chemical tagging; fish stocking; fisheries management; stock enhancement.


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