Stock enhancement is a management tool used for fishery recovery worldwide, yet the success of many stocking programs remains unquantified. Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii) and golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) are important Australian recreational target species that have experienced widespread decline. Stocking of these species has been undertaken for decades, with limited assessment of effectiveness. A batch marking and recapture approach was applied to assess stocked Murray cod and golden perch survival, contributions to wild fisheries, and condition in rivers and impoundments. Stocked fish were marked with calcein. Marked fish were detected during surveys undertaken 3 years and 10 months from initial marking, and it is probable that marks will persist beyond this time. The proportion of calcein marked fish in the population sub-sample whose age was equal to, or less than, the number of years since release, varied by 7–94% for Murray cod, and 9–98% for golden perch. Higher proportions of marked fish were found in impoundments than rivers. Marked Murray cod had significantly steeper length–weight relationships (i.e. higher weight at a given length) to unmarked fish. Our results show that application of methods for discriminating stocked and wild fish provides critical information for the development of adaptive, location-specific stocking strategies.
Forbes, J., Watts, R., Robinson, W., Baumgartner, L., McGuffie, P., Cameron, L., & Crook, D. (2016). Assessment of stocking effectiveness for Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii) and golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) in rivers and impoundments of south-eastern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 67(10), 1410-1419. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF15230