Gippsland Lakes Recreational Fishery Plan
The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) is delivering on its commitment to invest in science and habitat restoration in the Gippsland Lakes with the release of a plan to safeguard the future of one of the state’s key fisheries.
The VFA has developed a Draft Gippsland Lakes Recreational Fishery Plan to return the lakes to a recreational fishing mecca.
The Plan was put out for public comment for a period of six weeks, with consultation ending on 28 October, 2020.
Earlier this year commercial netting was removed from the Gippsland Lakes, paving the way for the plan. The removal of commercial net fishing is an important first step to facilitate future stock rebuilding for species such as black bream and dusky flathead. The removal of commercial fishing pressure will result in a major increase in fish abundance and will support further boosts to natural recruitment processes for resident fish stocks on a grand scale, safeguarding the recreational fishery for the future.
The health of the Gippsland Lakes and status of black bream stocks have been an ongoing concern for several decades. Black bream stocks are classified as ‘depleting’ by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation's fish status report and this has been reflected in declining recreational and commercial catches.
The Plan provides a road map to restoring fish stocks and recreational fishing opportunities a six-point ‘learn by doing’ approach which includes:
- Involvement of recreational fishers, traditional owners and community partners
- New regulations for recreational fishing, including changes to catch and size limits for iconic species such as black bream
- Fish stocking throughout the Lakes system
- Improving fish habitat and waterway health
- Monitoring the success of our actions
- Review our processes
By improving habitat, installing artificial reefs, stocking and consulting on bag and size limits, the Victorian Fisheries Authority aims to accelerate the recovery of key recreational fish species such as black bream and dusky flathead.
The Draft Plan has been developed in close consultation with recreational fishers and a project steering group made up of local anglers and representatives from Futurefish Foundation, VRFish and the Gippsland Lakes Recreational Fishing Alliance.