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Aquarium raised olive perchlet released into Victorian waters after nearly 100-year extinction

  • Monday 20th March 2023
  • SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

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SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium together with the Tri State Alliance Mid Murray Floodplain Recovery Reach Program, funded by the Murray Darling Basin Authority and Victorian Department of Energy, Environment, and Climate Action, have successfully released a population of olive perchlet into wetlands with suitable habitat in Bendigo and Mildura.


The olive perchlet, a small floodplain specialist fish, was once widespread throughout the Murray-Darling Basin however wasn’t strong enough to deal with its enemies such as predation by introduced species and habitat degradation. As a result, it was declared officially extinct in Victoria in 1988.


A combined effort from organisations across three states has brought back the olive perchlet to central and northern Victorian wetlands.

The Tri State Alliance brings together seven natural resource bodies along the Murray from Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia, including the North Central and Mallee Catchment Management Authorities.

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium obtained juveniles from New South Wales DPI Fisheries and have been rearing them up as part of the same program that saw the southern purple spotted gudgeon, better known as the zombie fish, reintroduced into Victorian wetlands.


“The sites were carefully selected, having no exotic fish species, permanent water supply, and enhanced habitat (aquatic plants and woody habitat added) to give the species the best chance of thriving. We expect the fish to breed at these sites and be part of the long-term plan to re-stock the species into restored floodplain habitats throughout the Murray corridor where the species used to be prolific. After the initial success of the zombie fish program in Bendigo and Mildura, we’re looking forward to seeing yet another important small native fish thriving in our region’s wetlands and rivers.” - Dr Peter Rose, Project Manager at the North Central CMA and the Tri State Alliance’s Mid Murray Floodplain Recovery Reach coordinator.

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