Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

Opportunism and revitalising of purple-spotted gudgeon (Mogurnda adspersa) populations following emergency rescue of an inland population (#173)

Mitch S Turner 1 , Leo M Cameron 1 , Brooke Coonrod 1 , Sophie Johns 1 , Maryrose Antico 2 , Harry Davey 3 , Trevor Daley 4 , Gavin Butler 1
  1. NSW DPIE Fisheries, Grafton, NSW, Australia
  2. Threatened Species Unit, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  3. Ozfish Unlimited, Northern Tablelands Chapter, Tenterfield, NSW, Australia
  4. Threatened Species Unit, Batemans Bay, NSW, Australia

State government fisheries agencies frequently possess greater capacity for hatchery-based production of fingerlings of large-bodied species, whilst producing and recovering small-bodied fishes is often ad hoc or lacking as a function of funding availability. During the 2017–2019 drought and immediately prior to the 2019 bushfires, two consecutive collections of purple-spotted gudgeon were made from the Mole River in inland Northern New South Wales, as a safeguard against local extinction. In the preceding months it became apparent there was opportunity to learn and breed the captive individuals. Challenges that were met included minimising aggression and housing issues, sex bias and inaccurate sex determination, and domestication. Broodfish representing 28 males and 19 females have been bred regularly during the 2-year period to date, based on a practice of rotating male-female pairings from October until March at the Grafton hatchery. To this end, hatchery quality assurance measures and records have been implemented ensuring genetic integrity is preserved. Progeny have primarily been released into Tenterfield Creek, and the upper Macintyre  and Gwydir river systems. Follow up surveys have revealed at least one successful population has been re-established in the wild. The education and adaptive management facets of the project have included indigenous involvement, a school aquarium-based project and a community organisation led habitat restoration in association with the re-stockings. The program has evolved rapidly into a mature community centric species recovery process that has come from developing reliable means for producing this species in captivity.