Dusky flathead stocking trial in the Gippsland Lakes

Dusky flathead are one of the most recreationally valuable and iconic species in the Gippsland Lakes.

With the foundational steps taken towards rebuilding key species, including removal of commercial net fishing and the finalisation of the Gippsland Lakes Recreational Fishery Plan (the Plan), the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) is gearing up to undertake a stocking trial for dusky flathead.

Dusky flathead broodstock were collected throughout January this year and have produced offspring ready to be stocked and provide a boost to existing populations. The pond-reared fry will measure approximately 3cm when they are stocked into the Lakes sometime in the next month when the conditions are right.

Historically, stocking in Victoria has focussed on enhancing our freshwater fisheries. Marine stocking is increasingly being considered as a management tool to enhance the sustainable management of Victoria’s fisheries.

A Recreational Fishing Licence (RFL) funded study prepared by the VFA on the feasibility of breeding and stocking dusky flathead identified the species as a good candidate for stocking in Gippsland Lakes to accelerate their recovery as they are highly fecund, can be stripped using ripe fish from the wild and, can grow quickly. Click here to view the study.

Establishing stocking programs for dusky flathead and other key recreational species, such as black bream, Australian bass and estuary perch, are a key component of the Plan and restoring the Gippsland Lakes to a recreational fishing mecca.

The Victorian Government has committed to a record fish stocking target of 10 million fish by 2022. The stocking of dusky flathead and other key species in the Gippsland Lakes will contribute to achieving this commitment.