A government-funded native fish rescue program has culminated with the release of 7,500 Macquarie perch into the local river.
Over half a century since the perch have inhabited the Macquarie River, their reintroduction into the area is all thanks to the NSW Government's flagship fish hatchery.
More than 70 years after the fish were last recorded in the river, the juveniles have been released into the catchment at Winburndale Dam, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced.
"We are very excited to be reintroducing this species here, after they were bred at the NSW Government's flagship fish hatchery at Narrandera," Mr Marshall said.
"It is our hope these fingerlings will grow up to establish a new population here and once again become abundant in the Macquarie River catchment."
Between the continuous cycle of droughts, bushfires and floods that have become almost religious over recent years, the repopulation of native animals is an integral part of maintaining the natural environment.
"We have seen some of the most challenging conditions for native fish over the last few years, with drought and then bushfire runoff causing considerable harm to local populations, so restocking initiatives like this are vital in supporting their recovery," Mr Marshall said.
"That's why the government launched this large-scale effort to create a 'Noah's Ark' program to conserve native fish after the devastating drought."
The initiative has also been applauded by Member for Bathurst Paul Toole, hailing the release a significant moment for the local community.
"While it is always fantastic to see fish returned to our local waterways, this is an extra special release of more than 7,500 Macquarie perch," Mr Toole said.
"Conditions are now ideal for these fish to flourish in and I know our region's passionate fishos will welcome their return."
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