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Southern Pygmy Perch Breeding Project

A Big Project to Save a Tiny Fish!

A Big Project to Save a Tiny Fish!

A recovery project to help save a small but mighty endangered species

Following a dramatic decline in numbers over the past two decades, the Southern Pygmy Perch – a small species of native, freshwater fish are now listed as Endangered in NSW. The small but mighty, Southern Pygmy Perch plays an important part in the eco-system of freshwater streams and wetlands in South Eastern Australia, and to help drive the recovery of this species, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is proud to launch a recovery program in collaboration with the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries.

The program aims to establish breeding populations of Southern Pygmy Perch at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, then raise and release the fish into refuges, creating new populations and boosting the number and genetic diversity of existing populations of this species.

Watch the videos below to learn more about the project and the Southern Pygmy Perch's journey. 

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Spp Photo2 By Luke Pearce

The Project Begins

Laura Simmons, Regional Curator SEA LIFE ANZ said, “The Southern Pygmy Perch are valuable to our broader freshwater eco-systems, playing an important role in supporting a diversity of native flora and fauna in a variety of habitats and we are so fortunate to be able to work with DPI Fisheries on such a special project.

“To establish the program, our team along with Fisheries conservation experts were able to collect the wild Southern Pygmy Perch from at-risk sites in southern NSW and rehome them at the aquarium. We are so excited to present these tiny but mighty fish to our guests and tell their story.

“We’ve also developed dedicated breeding facilities, and in the coming months, we hope to be raising, and planning to release, Southern Pygmy Perch babies back into protected wild locations, where their progress and movements will be monitored."

Southern Pygmy Perch - Endangered animals - SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

DPI Threatened Species Senior Fisheries Manager, Dr. Trevor Daly commented, “The DPI is thrilled to partner with SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium on this new breeding program for the endangered freshwater fish Southern Pygmy Perch. The small and attractive species is in serious decline in NSW and initiatives such as this are critical to helping to recover their populations. We hope this project will build on and mirror the fantastic success we have had to date with the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium breeding and release program for the Endangered White’s Seahorse”. 




To learn more about the innovative conservation campaigns, scientific research, and inspiring education that SEA LIFE Aquariums globally champion for plastic-free oceans, sustainable fishing, effective marine protected areas, and an end to over-exploitation of marine life, click here.

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