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Resurvey of historical collection sites for Balston’s Pygmy Perch in the South West Linkages Target Area

Allen, M.G., Beatty, S.J. and Morgan, D.L. (2015) Resurvey of historical collection sites for Balston’s Pygmy Perch in the South West Linkages Target Area. Freshwater Fish Group and Fish Health Unit, Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, Murdoch University

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Abstract

Balston’s Pygmy Perch (Nannatherina balstoni) is one of the rarest native freshwater fishes endemic to south-western Australia (Morgan et al. 2011, 2014). The species inhabits near-coastal lakes, wetlands and flowing streams, and was historically distributed between the Moore River (north of Perth) and the Angove River (east of Albany) (Morgan et al. 2011, 2014). Numerous anthropogenic stressors including habitat destruction, pollution, river regulation, and water abstraction have resulted in an approximate 31% decline in the distribution, with the species apparently having been extirpated from the Swan Coastal Plain and a number of other systems across its range (Morgan et al. 2014). The contemporary distribution extends from the upper reaches of the Margaret River to the Angove River near Two Peoples Bay (Morgan & Beatty 2003; FFGFHU unpubl. data) (see Figure 1). Remnant populations are highly fragmented within this range (Morgan et al. 2014).

In light of its typically low abundance and restricted distribution, N. balstoni has been formally recognised as Vulnerable to extinction under the Commonwealth Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 and is listed under Schedule 1 (“fauna that is rare or is likely to become extinct”) of the Western Australian Government’s Wildlife Conservation Act 1950. Accordingly, this fish is the flagship species of the current project entitled “Protecting threatened fishes in the South West Linkages Target Area”.

A thorough review of the historical distribution of N. balstoni was conducted at the outset of this project and has now been published in the scientific literature (see Morgan et al. 2014). To complement this review, one of the project’s primary aims was to resurvey a number of historical collection sites in order to ground-truth the current status of resident N. balstoni populations. The results of this survey should provide valuable data for authorities in developing management and recovery strategies for the conservation of this threatened south-western Australian endemic.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit
Series Name: Project WL2 1 001 SWCC
Publisher: Freshwater Fish Group and Fish Health Unit, Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, Murdoch University
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/36443
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