Small fish matter!
Updated May 2021
The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) supports sustaining and rebuilding of small bodied native fish populations. These species play important roles in the ecosystem, which in turn supports healthy recreational fisheries.
The VFA is currently contributing to efforts underway to sustain and rebuild small bodied native fish populations by Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs), Native Fish Australia (NFA), the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) and we are interested in understanding how we do more for these important fish species.
How is the VFA currently contributing:
The VFA is currently contributing to the rebuilding of small bodied native fish populations through the following actions:
- Managing the take of small bodied native fish species with appropriate regulations including bag limits
- In collaboration with NFA, CMA’s and recreational fishing stakeholders, we are reviewing the current take levels for small bodied native species.
- Facilitating permits and timely approvals for research and broodstock collection of small bodied native fish species
- Coinvesting in fisheries monitoring with DELWP through the Native Fish Report Card Program across 10 rivers in Victoria 2021-2023 worth over $750,000
- We are assessing the data for small bodied native fish species through the program and looking to share more broadly with the community.
- Participating in workshops and building partnerships regarding small bodied native fish recovery
- Promoting the importance of small bodied native fish to recreational anglers and providing opportunities for stakeholders to support actions
- Encouraging and supporting angler volunteerism in river health recovery works.
How the VFA may be able to contribute in future:
The VFA is interested in understanding how we can further assist efforts underway to rebuild small bodied native fish populations. This may include:
- Improved communications and promotion regarding small bodied native fish through VFA website, Facebook and native fish conferences (Murray Codference)
- Supporting indigenous interest in native fish production and related educational programs.
- Assisting with funding applications that contribute to small bodied native fish species
- Supplying equipment, infrastructure and/or expertise to assist with small bodied native fish production
- Breeding small bodied native fish at Snobs Creek or Arcadia Hatcheries (will require co-investment)
Several policy documents lay the platform for VFA’s co-contribution to the sustaining and rebuilding of small bodied native fish populations, in conjunction with other organisations. These include:
Fisheries Act 1995
Key objectives of the Fisheries Act are to:
(a) to provide for the management, development and use of Victoria's fisheries, aquaculture industries and associated aquatic biological resources in an efficient, effective and ecologically sustainable manner;
(b) to protect and conserve fisheries resources, habitats and ecosystems including the maintenance of aquatic ecological processes and genetic diversity;
Victorian Freshwater Fisheries Management Plan
The Freshwater Fisheries Management Plan (FFMP) proposes partnerships with relevant agencies and the community to address fisheries issues by integrating fish, water and land management.
The FFMP identifies an opportunity for: ‘expanding the breeding and stocking of recreationally important threatened species, such as Macquarie perch, trout cod and freshwater catfish, as well as small-bodied native fish, such as southern pygmy perch (Nannoperca australis), Murray hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis) and galaxiid species. Because many of these species are locally extinct, a stocking program is the only recovery option.’
Snobs Creek Fish Production and Stocking Plan
The VFA Snobs Creek Advisory Board’s Fish Production and Stocking Plan includes key priorities to:
- ‘Develop a shared vision and investment partners to expand breeding efforts for threatened species, including small bodied, locally extinct fish species.’
- ‘Develop methods to breed and stock threatened small bodied native fish.’
- ‘Develop breeding techniques for small bodied threatened native fish species.’
- ‘Stock and establish new populations in locally extinct areas.’
- ‘Lead Australia in the production, stocking and recovery of small bodied native fish species.’
For further information, please contact:
Taylor Hunt, Acting Manager Freshwater Fisheries:
0418 478 028
John Douglas, Fisheries Manager:
0447 545 139
1) Efforts are underway to rebuild populations of Purple Spotted Gudgeon in Victoria. Photo: Doug Gimesy
2) Southern Pygmy perch are one of the ‘magnificent six’ small bodied native fish species identified by the Tri-State Murray Natural Resource Management Regional Alliance to recover. Photo: John Lenagan
3) Climbing galaxias have been captured in electrofishing surveys by DELWP in Nariel Creek. Photo: John Douglas