The West

Pemberton ark for endangered natives
Pemberton 'ark' for endangered natives

Pemberton is at the centre of a major freshwater fish research program.

The Department of Fisheries research hatchery on Pump Hill Road has an important role in the project which aims to conserve threatened native fish species in the South West.

Fisheries freshwater scientist Dr Craig Lawrence said Pemberton maintained populations of rare and endange red fish and c ray fish species.

‘‘Our research focus is to breed these species in the hatchery where they are protected from predators and supplied with ample food, so we have increased survival than in the wild,’’ he said.

‘‘Pemberton is also an ‘ark’ where we keep animals from becoming extinct, while on-ground works such as vegetation and fish ladders are completed. Then we can restock t h e w at e r b o di e s wit h t h e s e species.’’

The Pemberton research hatchery has been breeding trout for recreational angling sincethe 1930s and has been involved in aquaculture research since the 1970s.

It is the regional hub for freshwater fish research and advice and will also restart hatcherytours forthe public.

Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said research had shown native freshwater fish stocks were declining in the South West.

‘‘Three of the most threatened species are trout minnow, balston’s pygmy perch and the little pygmy perch,’’ he said.

‘‘Researchers will be working to establish their distribution and to estimate populations of each species.

"They will also determine the migration patterns in different water systems and the areas critical to their survival.’’

The three-year project is due to start early next year. Mr Moore said $850,000 from the State Natural Resource Management Program would fund a partnership of organisations and community groups working on native fish issues.

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