Report to Parliament 2001-2002

Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2002

Pursuant to S. 151B(4) Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2000, the Minister (for Fisheries) must cause of report on how levies and application fees received in respect of recreational fishing licences, paid into the Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account (RFL), were disbursed. Pursuant to S. 151B(4)(a) such a report is to be prepared by 1 October each year, and, pursuant to S. 151B(4)(b) such a report is to be laid before each House of Parliament on or before the 7th sitting day of that House, after the report has been prepared.

For the information of Honourable Members, the Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account came into effect on 1 April 2001, and the Fisheries Revenue Allocation Committee, whose function is to provide any advice requested by me on the priorities for the disbursement of funds from the RFL Trust Account, was appointed for two years on 1 August 2001.

The Committee consists of six members, including-

(a) 2 members of the Fisheries Co-Management Council or of a fishery committee with knowledge of, and experience in, recreational fishing nominated by the Council;

(b) 2 people nominated by the Secretary, Department of Natural Resources and Environment;

(c) 2 people nominated by the recognised peak body for recreational fishing (VRFish).

The 2001/02 financial year is the first full year of the RFL Trust Account's operation.

The Victorian Auditor-General has audited the revenue received and disbursements made from the Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account in 2001/02.

Recreational Fisheries Officers

NRE employs 10 Recreational Fisheries Officers (RFOs) – five operate in the Port Phillip Region, three operate in the Gippsland Region and two operate in the South West Region. These staff were first employed in October 1999 to perform a significant and continuing compliance, education and extension services role following the introduction, in July 1999, of the All-Waters Recreational Fishing Licence.

The RFOs perform a range of activities that contribute significantly to the improvement of recreational fishing in Victoria. Over the past year, their activities have included, but are not confined to the following.

Port Phillip Region – Mornington, Altona, Geelong, and Cowes

  • Conduct fisheries patrols to check on fish catch and size limits, and recreational fishing licence compliance
  • Management of Fishcare Volunteer Program at Geelong, Melbourne and Mornington.
  • Attendance at recreational fishing events and expos, such as, Lilydale Lake Family Day, Westernport Whiting Challenge, Jack 'Yabbie' Wells' Whiting Competition, and Fishing & Great Outdoors Expo.
  • Contribution to recreational fisher creel survey coordinated by Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute
  • Attendance at angling club meetings
  • Major contribution to the conduct of the Frankston on Sea Festival and 'The Briars' Environment Week schools' education expo.
  • Organisation of 'Get Hooked' Fishing Clinics as part of the Coast Action/Coastcare's Summer Activities Program
  • Installation of fishing regulatory advice, such as fish rulers, on piers and jetties
  • Development of a strategic plan to deal with ongoing seasonal fisheries and litter issues at the 'Warmies', Newport
  • Contributions regarding recreational fishing to local and metropolitan newspapers, departmental newsletters, NRE website, and brochures
  • Provision of input to annual Regional Freshwater Fisheries Consultation meeting
  • Development and implementation of a revegetation project designed to restore habitat values to a degraded section of the Anglesea River
  • Coordination of a dual agency project designed to provide shelter and facilities for the benefit of disabled recreational fishers on the Barwon River

Summary of Port Phillip Region's Recreational Fisheries Officer Outputs

Rec fisher contacts >2250 Radio coverage 16
Fishcare programs 4 locations Print media coverage 25
Fish measure pier ruler installations 14 Television coverage 2
Fishcare meetings 24 Angling club meetings 35
Fish releases 15 sites Creel survey interviews 380
Disabled fisher clinics 42 School presentations 12
Holiday fishing clinics 16 Public displays 30

South West Region – Portland and Warrnambool

  • Conduct fisheries patrols to check on fish catch and size limits, and recreational fishing licence compliance
  • Conduct creel survey at Lake Purrumbete
  • Educate, extend and promote healthy angling ethics amongst primary school children.
  • Assist with tree planting around Lake Bullen Merri, Camperdown
  • Investigate alleged chemical pollution in Hopkins River, Warrnambool
  • Assess the Moyne River's (W'bool) stream habitat for the suitability of salmonid stocking and accessibility for recreational fishers
  • Assist applicants with submission for Recreational Fishing Grant Program funding
  • Provide information and advice regarding riparian (riverbank) and in-stream habitat issues
  • Participation in Clean Up Australia Day to improve the health and aesthetics of the Merri River, W'bool
  • Participation in Sea Week through promotion of responsible recreational fishing with primary school students
  • Conduct junior recreational fishing clinics to promote healthy and responsible angling ethics
  • Attend W'bool and District Angling Club annual fishing competition – Hopkins and Merri rivers, and measure, record catch, and tag all bream caught
  • Attend Horsham Apex fishing competition to provide information and education to recreational fishers and the general public on recreational fishing and regulations, and conduct RFL compliance inspections with Water Police
  • Participate in carp survey, Glenelg River
  • Prepare brief for court proceedings

Summary of South West Region's Recreational Fisheries Officer Outputs

Rec fisher contacts >1400 Radio coverage/media releases 13
Fishcare programs 2 locations Print media coverage/media releases 14
Research/tagging/survey (days) 25 Television coverage/media releases 14
Fishcare meetings 4 Angling club meetings/comps 13
Fish releases 11 Creel survey days 2
Disabled fisher clinics 1 School presentations 5
Holiday/junior fishing clinics 6 Public displays 16

Gippsland Region - Mallacoota and Bairnsdale

  • Conduct fisheries patrols to check on fish catch and size limits, and recreational fishing licence compliance
  • Assist in the management of Fishcare volunteers throughout East Gippsland
  • Provide technical and administrative support to Gippsland Fishcare Volunteer Coordinator.
  • Provide recreational fishing-related advice to general public as required
  • Provide support for the process of incorporation of the Fishcare program throughout Victoria.
  • Organise field days and outings for Fishcare Volunteers
  • Organise, manage and facilitate, multi-agency Emergency Services and Recreational Fisheries Field Day with participants including: Victorian Fisheries, Fishcare, Customs, Coastguard, SES (State Emergency Service), Ambulance, both Victorian and NSW Police, Coastcare, coast action, Surf Life Savers and the CFA (Country Fire Authority). Displays including patrol boats, police cars and bikes, fire trucks, ambulances, SES and Fishcare Trailers
  • Provide logbooks, information and support for recreational fishers conducting volunteer data collection for MAFRI
  • Provide, manage and maintain up to date information board around busy and popular recreational fishing areas
  • Provide a high level of contribution and input into local newspaper and Fishcare Newsletters, providing community involvement and a source of information on local and statewide fisheries issues
  • Provide, maintain and encourage local school with displays, education programs and environmental information
  • Planning of Small Waters junior trout fishing project at Bairnsdale

Summary of Gippsland Region's Recreational Fisheries Officer Outputs

Rec. fisher contacts >3200 Fishcare articles 10
Production notices >50 Recreational fisheries operations 8 days
Fishcare Days 6 Trout-specific operations 8 days
Fishcare field days 1 Multi-agency field days 6
Rotary club presentations 1 Ongoing public displays 5
SCUBA club presentations 1 Temporary public displays 1
Articles/Media releases (general) 14 Angling and dive club involvements 8