Signed, sealed and delivered – critically endangered fish returned to their homes

Meet the southern purple spotted gudgeon, a little native fish that is critically endangered in Victoria, and has been missing in action from much of the state. In fact they were thought to be regionally extinct until some were found in a lake that was destined to be drained, in the Kerang region in 2019. Fast forward to 2023 and now it’s a whole different story: collaborations, commitment and passion for these beautiful fish has them coming back from the brink.

Captively bred gudgeons from the Aquasave-NGT hatchery in Victor Harbor and the Middle Creek Farm in Victoria were recently released into the waters of Winton Wetlands and into wetlands in Bendigo. Before the fish were released, work was undertaken to ensure their new homes provided them with deluxe new facilities including rock and log habitats, submerged vegetation, and a bounty of water bugs to eat. You can read more about our other releases of this species in 2021 at Oaklands Wetland in Adelaide and in Mildura.
The release of southern purple-spotted gudgeon into Winton Wetlands was undertaken on World Wetlands Day in line with this years theme ‘It’s Time for Wetland Restoration’. As well as the many collaborative partners involved, the day also included wide community support and an Acknowledgement of Country, recognising the vital role of Yorta Yorta people as traditional custodians of the land.

This project was a collaboration of Aquasave-Nature Glenelg Trust with North Central and Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authorities, Winton Wetlands Committee of Management, City of Greater Bendigo, local landholders, Middle Creek Farm, Australia New Guinea Fishes Association, Native Fish Australia, Murray Darling Basin Authority and the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).

Sylvia Zukowski