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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Breeding and stocking

Initially focusing upon trout stocking and marron aquaculture, in more recent years we have applied our breeding and stocking expertise to saving Western Australia’s endemic native fish and crayfish species.

In fact, we produce around 500,000 to 700,000 fish each year from our large-scale production facility at the Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre.

More technically difficult research, such as breeding species that are on the verge of extinction, is undertaken at the Aquaculture and Native Fish Breeding Laboratory.

We undertake breeding and stocking programs to:

Save endangered species from extinction

In WA six freshwater fish species have been declared threatened fauna:

  • Critically endangered: Margaret River hairy marron (C. tenuimanus)
  • Endangered: Spotted minnow or western trout minnow (G. truttaceus)
  • ​Vulnerable to extinction: Western mud minnow (G. munda); Blind cave eel (O. candidum); Balston’s pygmy perch (N. balstoni); and Blind gudgeon (M. veritas).

We maintain a living gene bank or ‘ark’ of rare and endangered species and undertake research to produce these species for restocking and have successfully restocked hairy marron in the Margaret River.

Restock native fish

Native fish such as pygmy perch (E. vittata) and minnows (Galaxias spp.) were once common in Western Australia. Unfortunately their distribution is now fragmented which means that, although they are not listed as being in danger of extinction, they are no longer found in many waterbodies where they once resided. These fish play an important role in aquatic ecosystems.

We breed native fish for restocking natural water bodies where they previously occurred, stocking artificial lakes to control mosquitos, replenishing fish fauna in conjunction with waterbody rehabilitation projects; and restocking waterbodies after pest fish have been eradicated. Native fish also prey upon mosquito larva, assisting in the control of mosquito-borne diseases such as Ross River Virus.  

Provide recreational fishing

Trout are produced and stocked for recreational angling. Importantly, to protect native fish biodiversity trout are only stocked in either artificial impoundments (dams) or systems that contain large populations of pest fish (eg. redfin, goldfish). Fortunately, trout assist in controlling pest fish by predating upon them. As there are very few suitable locations for trout to spawn they are restocked annually.

Improve aquaculture production

Through the use of strain evaluation and selective breeding techniques, our scientists have produced improved genetic lines of marron and trout for commercial aquaculture production.

We have also conducted breeding programs to improve the aquaculture performance of yabbies, marron and trout.

The marron strain developed for commercial farming has been selected for improved growth and grows twice as fast as wild stocks.

In addition, the trout strain produced at Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre is unique because it has the ability to tolerate warmer temperatures, increasingly significant as global warming affects fish farmers worldwide.

Last modified: 16/05/2012 9:56 AM

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