Marine stocking program
The State Government has committed to implementing a marine species stocking program as part of its Target One Million commitment to get more people fishing, more often.
Marine stocking is widely practiced in other countries and a growing number of fisheries agencies in Australia are evaluating marine stocking using native fish in bays and inlets.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority has been consulting recreational fishers on marine stocking for about a decade including:
- a number of Gippsland Recreational fishing Reserve Management Plans (2007 and 2012)
- a series of marine stocking forums (2009)
- University of New South Wales preliminary assessment of the potential suitability of Victorian waters for fish releases (2010) and
- at Regional Recreational Fishing Forums in 2014 and 2015.
- In 2013, 1.6 million Eastern King Prawn larvae were stocked into Lake Tyers with evaluation undertaken by the University of NSW.
In August 2015, Fisheries Victoria met with six Gippsland recreational fishing representative groups at Lake Tyers and developed a proposal to undertake marine stocking trials in selected Gippsland waters including Lake Tyers, Tamboon Inlet and the Bemm River.
The purpose of the stockings is to build fish stocks and improve recreational fishing outcomes.
The Bemm River stocking was primarily to compensate for the removal of estuary perch brood fish that were transferred to a hatchery.
Tamboon Inlet has been stocked with mulloway, Lake Tyers with mulloway and estuary perch and the Bemm River with estuary perch.
The marine stocking plan will be delivered over two years and monitored over the next five in collaboration with fishers. All stocked fish will be either chemically marked or genetically screened so they can be differentiated from wild stock.
Table 1. The proposed and actual marine finfish stocking in East Gippsland.
25,000 estuary perch
25,000 estuary perch (proposed summer 2016 -17)
11,000 3mulloway (stocking completed)
5,000 mulloway (stocking completed)
5,000 estuary perch
1 Supply is subject to limited availability of fingerlings from two NSW hatcheries.
2 Stocking numbers based on 5 gram mulloway fingerlings.
3 Number of mulloway increased to compensate for smaller sized fingerlings (1 to 2 grams).
The NSW experience
The Victorian marine stocking trial builds on the considerable marine stocking work of NSW Fisheries, particularly in relation to mulloway stocking in bays, inlets and estuaries.
The stocking levels proposed by The Victorian Fisheries Authority for our waters are considerably lower than those recommended by NSW Fisheries researchers. The outcomes of this trial will inform future marine stocking.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority is undertaking research to better understand kingfish population structures, movement patterns and life history in our waters. As part of this work, the feasibility of stocking kingfish into Victorian waters will be considered.