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Author Topic: Percy just keeps swimming, swimming, swimming  (Read 1249 times)

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Percy just keeps swimming, swimming, swimming
« on: April 06, 2015, 12:11:54 PM »
Percy just keeps swimming, swimming, swimming - MDBA 2/4/15



Do you know that there are over 30,000-tagged fish that we monitor in the River Murray?

One of these fish, a silver perch dubbed Percy is a bit of an over achiever. Percy has travelled over 470km in one month. To put that in perspective:

If the fish were 35 cm, an equivalent person would be 170cm. The person would have to travel 65km a day for 35 days under his or her own steam.

Impressive, right?!

So how do we know Percy undertook an impressive journey? A journey that started all the way down at Waikerie (Lock 2), and finished up at Wentworth (Lock 10)? It's all part of the Sea to Hume Fishways Program.

We have installed Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag readers, at the entrance and exits of the fishways along the River Murray. PIT tag readers record when one of the 30,000-tagged fish pass through a fishway and provide valuable information for assessing the effectiveness of the fishways and monitoring fish movement along the River Murray and tributaries.

The PIT tag readers' record fish 'ascents' and 'detections'. Ascents are when a fish passes through the fishway for the first time. We record the numbers of ascents by species, including native and non-native species. A 'detection' is recorded when a tagged fish is detected at a particular fishway, whether it be her first time or fifth time there.

We were able to track the progress of our over-achieving friend Percy as we monitor multi-site ascent detections to gain an understanding of upstream or downstream migrations.

Percy the Perch was first detected at Lock 2 on 14 January 2015 and last detected ascending Lock 10 on 17 February, and we are all waiting to see if he makes it all the way up to Lock 11 and beyond.

Percy isn't the only one exploring the length of the Murray–another fish, this one a golden perch, has made a 14 month trek from Bookpurnong (Lock 4)  to Wangumma (Lock 8), a trip of approximately 386 km.

Monitoring the movement of fish is important in our gaining an understanding of how easy it is for fish to migrate through the dedicated fishways.

Planning is currently underway to commence an ongoing tagging program–this ongoing tagging will include lock staff as well as state based research agencies.
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