World-first program repopulates and releases endangered stocky galaxias fish into natural habitat

28 APRIL 2023

The Vice-Chancellor was among those who released the stocky galaxias fish into their natural habitat this week after Charles Sturt and DPI revived the species through a world-first repopulation program.

  • Charles Sturt University and Department of Primary Industries release stocky galaxias population into Eucumbene Borrows
  • More than 130 stocky galaxias were released on Thursday 27 April in a world-first program after they were threatened by bushfires and heavy rain

A world-first innovative breeding program by Charles Sturt University has brought the stocky galaxias fish population back from the brink of extinction, allowing them to be released back into their natural habitat this week.

Charles Sturt and the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) worked together on a world-first program in Albury-Wodonga to ensure the longevity of the stocky galaxias fish.

Bushfires in 2019 and significant rainfall that followed threatened to create a potential fish kill event. The fish were taken to the aquatic research facility at Charles Sturt in Albury-Wodonga and DPI Hatchery at Jindabyne NSW.

More than 130 stocky galaxias were released into a new location at Eucumbene Borrows in the NSW Snowy Mountains on Thursday 27 April

Charles Sturt University Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon said the project illustrates the importance of collaboration to help protect threatened species.

“By stocking fish - the majority of which were successfully bred by Charles Sturt University - into the new habitat, we are supporting the recovery of the species long-term,” Professor Leon said.

group shot“Releasing this population of fish into Eucumbene Borrows creates additional, geographically distinct populations of stocky galaxias which will give this native species the best chance of surviving.

“This project is just the latest which demonstrates the immense value of collaborations between Charles Sturt’s researchers with the University’s government and industry partners.”

Executive Director of the Gulbali Institute for Agriculture, Water and Environment Professor Lee Baumgartner said initial captive breeding was deemed necessary to preserve the species but it is a significant milestone to be releasing these fish into the wild.

“This is an exciting and important phase of this project that we have been working towards over a number of years” he said.

“Getting these fish back into the wild is an important step in the conservation of these species and acts as an insurance policy for their ongoing survival.”

“Saving threatened species from extinction is one of the reasons we become scientists. Moments like these are absolutely rewarding and are giving the species a fighting chance.”

NSW Department Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Deputy Director General Mr Sean Sloan said this stocking event is yet another vital step forward for recovering this tiny native fish.

“Stocky galaxias are at high risk of extinction due to a raft of threats including their extremely restricted range in Kosciusko National Park, 56 per cent of which burned during the catastrophic 2019-20 bushfires,” Mr Sloan said.

“In 2022, DPI – along with project partners NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and South-East Local Land Services – rehabilitated Eucumbene Borrows, an unused Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme site, with support from the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery for Wildlife and their Habitat program.

“These recovery activities will provide great future habitat and help prevent the extinction of this critically endangered fish.”

Media Note:

To arrange an interview with Professor Lee Baumgartner, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0429 217 026 or

The Gulbali Institute of Agriculture, Water and Environment is a strategic investment by Charles Sturt University to drive integrated research to optimise farming systems, enhance freshwater ecosystems and improve environmental management, to deliver benefits across Australia and globally.

Photo caption: Luke Pearce (DPI), Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon, Gulabali Institute Executive Director Professor Lee Baumgartner, Amina Price (Charles Sturt), Jillian Keating (DPI), Mark Lintermans (Fish Fondler), Katie Doyle (Charles Sturt), Zac Rolfe (Charles Sturt), Jarred McPherson (Charles Sturt) and An Vu (Charles Sturt).

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Albury-Wodonga Canberra Charles Sturt University Research