Objective 1- Improve and Increase Recreational Fishing Opportunities
Strategy 1: Maintain and manage stock-enhanced fisheries
Fisheries Victoria's fish stocking strategy
In 2010, Fisheries Victoria stocked approximately 706,000 salmonids into ninety waterways and 2,396,922 native fish across the State. In the same year, approximately 91,000 trout and 974,400 native fish were stocked in waterways across the Goulburn-Broken fishery (Appendix 3).
Fisheries Victoria manages recreational fisheries within an ecologically sustainable development framework and in accordance with relevant Commonwealth and State legislation. Its fish stocking policy, Fish Stocking for Recreational Purposes, defines the principles and criteria used by Fisheries Victoria to prioritise waterways in the recreational fish stocking program (Department of Primary Industries 2008a). This policy assists Fisheries Victoria in responding to changes in environmental conditions such as water quality and quantity, drought and bushfires, altered management practices by water and land managers and changing stakeholder values and expectations.
Waters are considered for stocking where the following conditions are met: suitable water exists for the stocked species; self-sustaining populations of the species do not exist or should be augmented for recreational fishing purposes; stocking is in accordance with translocation policy; the value of stocking to the public outweighs the cost; and the relevant resource manager has provided an authority to stock fish.
Fisheries Victoria adapts its management strategies to maintain sustainable harvest and to ensure that fish are available now and into the future. Its fish stocking policy will be regularly reviewed under this fishery management plan to ensure it remains relevant to the Goulburn-Broken and other State fisheries.
Fisheries Victoria's fish stocking strategy for the Goulburn-Broken region is reviewed annually or in response to relevant environmental events or natural disasters
Annual recreational fisheries consultation
Fisheries Victoria is committed to consulting stakeholders when making decisions about the use of Victoria's fisheries resources. Recreational Fishing Regional Roundtables are open-house forums that provide an opportunity for anglers to have their say about recreational fisheries management in Victoria. Anglers and Fisheries Victoria staff can exchange ideas, identify opportunities and build effective working relationships to improve recreational fisheries in these meetings.
Fish stocking is conducted in accordance with Fisheries Victoria's stocking strategy and with annual native and salmonid stocking plans developed using information from a range of sources including the annual Vic Fish Stock process. Annual Vic Fish Stock meetings are held in the Northeast (which includes the Goulburn-Broken region), Southwest, Northwest, Gippsland and Port Phillip fisheries management regions.
Vic Fish Stock meetings provide a forum for discussing fish stocking regimes, fish population surveys and other related recreational fisheries management issues. Meetings are convened by Fisheries Victoria and attended by the Fisheries Research Branch, fisheries managers, the Victorian representative fishing body, VRFish, water management authorities, catchment management authorities, the Department of Sustainability and Environment and other organisations interested in recreational fishing.
The main focus of Vic Fish Stock meetings is to: review the current year's stocking plan and identify necessary changes; draft the fish stocking plan for the following year; identify stock or catch assessment requirements; and to identify other relevant fishery management issues.
Under this fishery management plan, Fisheries Victoria will continue to use the Vic Fish Stock process to develop and review annual stocking plans for the Goulburn-Broken fishery.
Fish are stocked in the Goulburn-Broken fishery in accordance with the Vic Fish Stock process and protocols for the translocation of fish into inland public waters
Stocking native fish in the Nagambie Lakes
The Nagambie Lakes system was created when the Goulburn Weir was constructed to raise the level of the Goulburn River for the purpose of diverting water to the Stuart Murray and Cattanach canals and the East Goulburn Main Channel. Water diverted to the Stuart Murray and the Cattanach canals flows to the Waranga Basin for supply to the Goulburn irrigation system (Goulburn-Murray Water 2007a).
Located 125 kilometres north of Melbourne, the Nagambie Lakes have the potential to provide a regular fishing venue to thousands of recreational fishers. In 2008, Fisheries Victoria began a five-year stocking program with the intention of developing a high-quality regional native fishery in the Nagambie Lakes. To date, approximately 400,000 golden perch and 100,000 Murray cod have been stocked into the lake system.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that some stocked fish move from the Nagambie Lakes into adjacent irrigation infrastructure and may be lost to the fishery. To address this issue, a study has been undertaken to determine the extent to which stocked fish move into the Goulburn River and irrigation channels adjacent to the Nagambie Lakes; subject to the outcomes of this study, Fisheries Victoria will review options to manage the movement of stocked fish.
The Nagambie Lakes are stocked with native fish in accordance with the agreed stocking plan
A post-stocking evaluation of growth, survival and retention of stocked fish within the Nagambie Lakes is undertaken
A post-stocking evaluation of the social and economic impacts of the five-year stocking program in the Nagambie Lakes is undertaken
Subject to the outcomes of the previous action, a review of feasibility, options and costs of managing the movement of stocked fish from the Nagambie Lakes is undertaken
Strategy 2: Re-establish recreational fishing opportunities in natural disaster or drought-affected areas
Victorian native fish and trout fisheries are major social and economic contributors to regional communities. Nearly half of all trout harvested in Australia are caught in Victoria and many of Victoria's fishing waters are located in regions where severe fires occurred during 2002-03 and in 2009.
As of 2010, Victoria was experiencing its fourteenth year of sustained drought. The decade 1998 to 2007 saw an increase in daily, annual and seasonal temperatures and a decline in average annual rainfall when compared to the thirty years between 1961 and 1990. During the same period, the region's annual rainfall was seventeen per cent below average and there were seventeen fewer rainy days per annum than the 1961 to 1990 average. Despite significant rainfall that saw flooding in parts of the Goulburn-Broken catchment during 2010/2011, it is expected that the future climate of the Goulburn-Broken region will be hotter and drier than it is today (Department of Sustainability and Environment 2008a). Climate change projections that the south-east is likely to become hotter and drier in future suggest that bushfire risk will increase especially in inland areas (Hennessy et al. 2005).
Drought conditions can have significant impacts on inland fisheries including: fish deaths; long/short-term loss of carrying capacity of water bodies; concentrating fish in small bodies of water making them easier to take; and changes to species composition. Fisheries Victoria's policy, Responding to the Impacts of Drought and its Consequences on Inland Recreational Fisheries, assists it in mitigating impacts of drought in Victorian waters (Department of Primary Industries 2008e).
During January 2009 much of Victoria had no rain and most areas of the State had recorded near record lows. Heatwave conditions developed across Victoria and on 7 February many all-time temperature records were set; in Alexandria the temperature reached 45.4 degrees. The resulting bushfires of Black Saturday killed 173 people.
The principles of ecosystem-based fishery management underlie the management of natural disaster and drought-affected and recognise that the appropriate response will be determined by circumstances specific to the fishery and the appropriateness and effectiveness of these mitigation measures.
Develop and implement strategies that guide the recovery of natural disaster and drought-affected fish stocks in the Goulburn-Broken region
Strategy 3: Develop, protect and promote recreational fishing opportunities
New and existing fishing opportunities
Fisheries Victoria supports the creation of new fishing opportunities within the framework of ecologically sustainable development and in accordance with relevant Commonwealth and State legislation and policy. Fisheries Victoria further supports the legal and sustainable recreational take of threatened species and will continue to work with stakeholders and regulatory agencies to maintain and maximise angler access to these species.
A diverse portfolio of fishing opportunities provides anglers with a range of fishing challenges, provides a measure of risk management where fisheries are under pressure due to drought or other reason and can improve regional socio-economic outcomes by distributing activities across larger areas.
Fisheries Victoria has expanded its facility at Snobs Creek for the purpose of increasing production of native fish and salmonids. The increased production capability will, in the longer term, provide for more recreational fishing opportunities for Victorian anglers.
Proposals to develop recreational fisheries in the Goulburn-Broken region are developed within the context of prevailing government policies and processes
Fisheries Victoria and recreational fishing groups actively engage with relevant agencies to improve access to existing fishing opportunities
Develop ongoing Macquarie perch and trout cod breeding and stocking programs for the purpose of developing recreational fishing opportunities
Develop and implement an action plan to promote recreational fishing opportunities in the Goulburn-Broken region
The Goulburn River and Eildon Pondage are promoted nationally as premier fishing locations
Information about available fishing, stocking and grants programs is made available to anglers and program managers in the Goulburn-Broken region
Classifying inland waters
The Inland Waters Recreational Fishing Classification: Building Better Fisheries in Victoria report will be used by fishery managers to manage Victorian rivers, streams and impoundments based on native, trout and mixed fisheries. The report safeguards fisheries management of these water bodies for the next ten years (Department of Primary Industries 2010c).
Communicate and promote the outcomes of the Inland Waters Recreational Fishing Classification: Building Better Fisheries in Victoria report in the Goulburn-Broken region
Strategy 4: Understand the socio-economic benefits of recreational fishing
Fisheries Victoria and local governments recognise that recreational fishing is a key attraction for residents and visitors in regional Victoria. The expenditures by recreational fishers on equipment, supplies and travel are the economic foundation for many small businesses and provide important socio-economic benefits for many communities. A recent study by VRFish and Ernst and Young Australia (Ernst and Young 2009) found there were approximately 721,000 recreational fishers in Victoria who spent an estimated $2.3 billion on fishing and fishing-related activities during the study period. The recreational fishing industry directly produced an estimated Gross State Product of $825 million and employed approximately 5,200 Victorians; the net present value of the recreational fishing industry in Victoria over the twenty year evaluation period is estimated to be $10.6 billion while average employment is 5,980 persons.
According to the VRFish/Ernst and Young study, the estimated Gross Regional Product for northeast Victoria in 2008-09 was $177.9 million. It has also been estimated that between September 2004 and August 2005, recreational fishers of the Eildon Pondage spent approximately $1.07 million in the Murrindindi Shire and that about 3,000 nights of accommodation were needed by fishers of the mid-Goulburn River during 2003-2004. These findings suggest there is a multi-million dollar benefit to the community of maintaining a viable, healthy and popular recreational fishery within the Goulburn Valley (Brown and Gason 2006; Douglas and Hall 2010).
Regional tourism faces many challenges which include: global financial variables; volatility in the currency exchange rate; changing consumption patterns; climate change, drought and natural disaster; increased outbound travel; and alternatives provided by growth in the low-cost air carrier sector. During the period 2004 to 2008, domestic visitor numbers to regional Victoria decreased by 2.2 per cent per annum and the number of domestic visitor overnights decreased by 2.7 per cent per annum (Tourism Victoria 2006; 2009).
While many of the residents and visitors to regional Victoria participate in fishing, the extent to which these challenges affect the socio-economic well-being of communities in the Goulburn-Broken region is not well understood. It is known that businesses that support recreational fishing are significant contributors to regional economies in the Goulburn-Broken. There are, for example, more than ninety outlets, many of which are fishing tackle and bait suppliers, selling Recreational Fishing Licences in the Goulburn-Broken region on behalf of Fisheries Victoria. The actual number of businesses relying on recreational fishing but do not sell fishing licences, including accommodation, restaurants and guide services, is higher.
Assess angler satisfaction and catch rates at key recreational fishing locations in the Goulburn-Broken region
Undertake a study to understand the economic value of recreational fishing to communities in the Goulburn-Broken region
Strategy 5: Seeking input from Aboriginal communities
Aboriginal Victorians have historically utilised many fishery resources including abalone, Murray cod, golden perch, Murray spiny crayfish and eels for food and trading. In addition, Aboriginal people understand the value of ecosystems and habitats and the importance of environmental factors such as water flow, temperature patterns and snags to the health of fisheries resources. This close relationship to the land is reflected throughout Victoria by recorded cultural sites including middens and scarred trees and is based on a long tradition of stewardship, utilisation and cultural significance. For Aboriginal people, cultural values are intertwined with traditional uses, spiritual connection, ancestral ties and respect for waterways, land and the resources they provide.
Traditional Owners in the Goulburn-Broken region include the peoples of the Yorta Yorta Nation, Bangerang, Taungurung Clans, Wandoon Estate and Waywurru. The Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation are Registered Aboriginal Parties under the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. In 2004, the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and the State of Victoria signed the Co-Operative Management Agreement under which the State recognises the cultural connection of the Yorta Yorta People to designated areas in the Goulburn-Broken region (Yorta Yorta Nation/State of Victoria 2004).
Fisheries Victoria is developing an Aboriginal Fishing Strategy that will shape our approach to addressing Native Title, customary fishing, economic development opportunities, and increasing Aboriginal participation in fisheries management. This will be a state-wide effort that involves working with the Aboriginal community, government agencies and other stakeholders to ensure there are policies and mechanisms in place to facilitate Aboriginal interests and involvement in fishing. The Aboriginal Fishing Strategy will apply to all Aboriginal Victorians interested in the use of fisheries resources including Native Title holders (Department of Primary Industries 2010a).
Traditional Owners in the Goulburn-Broken region are invited to join the Goulburn-Broken Fishery Reference Group
Strategy 6: Improve access to fisheries resources
Waterways in the Goulburn-Broken region are accessed by recreational fishers using boat ramps, roads and tracks and by foot. The loss and or lack of access for fishers to fishing locations were identified during public consultation as key threats to recreational fishing in the region.
Property development, the transfer of unused roads to private ownership and safety concerns over the use of unmaintained public roads and tracks can limit access to waterways where only overland entry is available. The ongoing drought in Victoria has reduced boat-access by making some boat ramps unusable and focused fishing pressure in areas where access remains available.
The Northern Victorian Angling Access Map Project and the Northern Region Fisheries Signage projects, both of which are nearing completion, are funded through the Recreational Fishing Trust Account to: produce and distribute the Northern Victorian Angling Access Map and Brochure which identifies all legal access points to rivers and streams, pedestrian, vehicle and boat angling points; and to develop and implement standardised signage across the Northern Fisheries region to identify pedestrian, vehicle and boat access angling locations.
Liaising with land managers (e.g. local government, State authorities) can help ensure that access to recreational fishing sites is maintained. An effective means of achieving improvements to roads and tracks is to influence work priorities by providing land managers with information on the value and importance of recreational fisheries.
New or upgraded boat launching facilities were identified during the public consultation as a way to improve recreational fishing opportunities in the region. Depending on the waterway, the responsibility for providing and maintaining launching facilities rests with agencies including Parks Victoria, committees of management, water authorities or local government.
This management plan supports proposals to develop or upgrade boat launching facilities where the proposal: considers the impact of works on the environment and the impact of variations in water level; is aligned with existing infrastructure such as roads; benefits other recreational boating users; and has the support of the relevant land manager.
Marine Safety Victoria is the agency responsible for funding new or upgrading existing boat ramp facilities. Information on the Marine Safety Victoria Boating Safety and Facilities Program is available at www.marinesafety.vic.gov.au or by calling 1800 223 022.
Identify and promote access to road, track and irrigation infrastructure in key fishing locations in the Goulburn-Broken region
Identify priority areas in the Goulburn-Broken region where access to recreational fishing can be improved and work with relevant land managers to make these areas accessible to anglers
Work with relevant land managers and other agencies in the Goulburn-Broken region to develop and install signage identifying areas for recreational fishing access
Ensure Fisheries Victoria is consulted in decisions that may affect access for recreational fishing in the Goulburn-Broken region
Support suitable applications for boat launching facilities in the Goulburn-Broken region as approved by Marine Safety Victoria