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Pedder galaxias

Current status

[Photo of Pedder galaxiid by W. Fulton.]

Endangered. This was probably one of the most endangered species in the world. It is listed as endangered under both the State and Federal species protection Acts. Many people felt it was just a blink away from extinction. Today, thanks to intervention, it is now considered partly secure in its new home, Lake Oberon, where individuals had been translocated.

Why is it endangered?

The Pedder galaxias (Galaxias pedderensis) became endangered as a result of habitat changes. This species was one of two locally endemic galaxiids of the Lake Pedder area. Lake Pedder was flooded in the 1970's as part of a hydro-electric scheme. Flooding enabled the arrival of two larger, predatory fish. The brown trout moved into Lake Pedder when the upper Huon catchment was captured. These fish may outcompete and eat Pedder galaxias. The climbing galaxiid, a native fish, was able to reach Lake Pedder through the changed river system and seems to have replaced its smaller cousin.

How many are left?

Extensive searches have been undertaken. In 1992 it was estimated that less than 200 fish still remained in Lake Pedder. Only 49 fish had been recorded in two years and only occurred in two of the streams feeding into Lake Pedder.

In 1996, a breakthrough year, the first fish was found at the translocation site in Lake Oberon after four years of searching. Today, over 500 adults live and breed in Lake Oberon, and juveniles can even be seen swimming during the day. Unfortunately, 1996 was the last time the fish was ever found in its original home, Lake Pedder. They are now considered extinct in Lake Pedder.

What is being done?

In 1991 a recovery program was undertaken to prevent Pedder galaxias from becoming extinct. As its survival in Lake Pedder was unlikely it was decided to translocate up to 5,000 to a new home in Lake Oberon which fulfilled all the necessary physical and biological criteria for the fish's survival. Unfortunately less than 50 fish were found. Some were translocated to this new site and others were used in a captive breeding program at the Salmon Ponds.

Today, the species thrives in Lake Oberon. In 2001, fish were released at Strathgordon Water Supply Dam in an attempt to establish a second wild population as a backup in case disaster struck Lake Oberon. Time will tell how this second population fares.

View Distribution Map

Recommended further reading

Gaffney R., P. Hamr and P. E. Davies 1992. The Pedder Galaxias Recovery Plan. Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania.

Hamr P. 1992. Conservation of Galaxias Pedderensis. Inland Fisheries Commission Tasmania.

Inland Fisheries Service Web Site