Chairperson's Summary #46

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #46

Forum date: Friday 17 March 2017

Location: Fisheries Victoria Level 15, 1 Spring St, Melbourne 3000

Chair's summary

Key discussion items from State-wide Roundtable meeting #46:

  1. Update of activities of Australian Trout Foundation
  2. Recreational fishing access to Goulburn Murray Water impoundments
  3. Update of activities of Native Fish Australia
  4. Update of Target $1M
  5. Improving recreational fishing for people with disabilities
  6. Update of the establishment of the Victorian Fisheries Authority
  7. Review of fisheries fees, royalties and levies regulations
  8. Update of inland fisheries activities
  9. Current VRFish activities and projects.

1. Terry George – Chair, Australian Trout Foundation

Terry introduced the VRFish 'Take Care of Wild Trout in Hot Weather' flyer.

Climate change and weather patterns means we must change Cour methods of caring for habitat. Good habitat can mean an 88% increase in fish numbers. Organisations developing habitat, including CMAs, are doing a great job.

Terry discussed the importance of having a long term (20 year) plan. Research shows that there will be a 50% retraction in area for wild trout in 10-15 years, highlighting the need for improved habitat. Restoration projects have resulted in the return of trout and other fish and animal species.

In 2017 ATF have applied for a FV Large Grant for habitat work on the Buckland River to put in 5 big woody structures, 84 tons of boulders and to replant riparian strips with shady trees.

The GBCMA has been working with DWELP on instream habitat work.

Terry expressed a need for health care cards for streams and a review of stream classifications.

Trials are being conducted on Jordan/Scottys with the incubators being introduced to our streams.

Ross Winstanley endorsed the proposal for investment in habitat and the need for all groups to work together to achieve the best results.

ACTION: Anthony McGrath to contact VicRoads re the use of red gums that are removed for roadworks being made available for habitat.

2. Pat Lennon – Managing Director, Goulburn Murray Water

An important component of Pat's role is the responsibility for better access for recreational activities including fishing. GMW has control of 24 water storages.

Irrigation is the 'core' activity under the Act but GMW is moving to support 'non-core' activity including recreational and environmental areas. A limited budget is available for this work.

ACTION: Rob Loats and Mike Burgess. VRFish to do a survey on asset priorities eg toilets, boat ramps etc

ACTION: Travis Dowling. The 4 top infrastructure needs to be identified for VRFish at key water bodies.

ACTION: Marc Ainsworth GMW. Have environmental flows well publicised in advance of the event on GMW and The Victorian Fisheries Authority web sites.

3 Tim Curmi - President, Native Fish Australia (Vic)

  • Carp Herpes virus – many concerns on social media and within the angling community. There are broadly 3 main concerns
    • the large biomass of dead carp as a result of the virus
    • sudden lack of major food source for natives
    • possible/probable dramatic rise in Redfin numbers – may need to consider moving to noxious status
    • will need to be considered before virus is released.
  • We are continuing our project working with Bendigo City Council on the restocking of Bendigo creek with small natives. Will be done in partnership with ANGFA
  • Recently conducted the 23rd annual Native Fish Challenge. Around 80 anglers including a number of juniors from 4 different clubs caught, measured and released fish mainly from the Murray River below Yarrawonga. Data collected shared with NSW Fisheries
  • Recent combined Fishing/camping/fish sampling weekend with ANGFA on the Murray below Yarrawonga. Introduced many new members to angling for natives and also helped fish biologist from University of Canberra investigate fish populations in the river
  • Conducted a live fish display and information stand for World Wetlands Day with the Greater City of Dandenong. Display of Southern pygmy perch and a yabby. Aim was to raise awareness of native species and dangers of introduced fish like Mosquito fish
  • Have been working closely with the GBCMA to draft and submit grants for habitat improvement. Have already been successful in a grant to remove non-native vegetation and restore habitat
  • Highlighted the editorial written by Trevor Hawkins in the latest Freshwater Fishing magazine
  • Voiced concerns of Stephen Mueller with lack of progress on promises from The Victorian Fisheries Authority. He is successfully breeding Southern river blackfish
  • TEP - There is a new draft Abalone protocol. An number of recent applications on the release of Estuary perch
  • NFA (Vic) continuing to work with a number of schools in promoting angling and studying fish and aquatic ecology. Have a new school near Werribee that wants to get involved
  • In conjunction with the ATF we will be setting up and manning a display stand at the boat show. Main emphasis will be fly fishing. May also have live fish display.

4 Travis Dowling – Target One Million

Of the original TOM commitments there are only 3 remaining to be fulfilled (with the Better Fishing Facilities as ongoing):

  • Modify the Angler Diary program
  • Introduce a minimum size for trout
  • Undertake a recreational catch survey.

Events attended by Fisheries are taking a different format with less emphasis on the poorly attended regional forums and more work done at angling club meetings, large community events eg Hooked On Lakes Entrance, events with MPs, and conferences eg Codference:

  • Work is being done on fishing access at Devil Bend
  • Last week saw the opening of the new Clifton Springs jetty
  • Metro fish stocking continues at sites such as Melton, Mordialloc, Maribyrnong, Albert Park, Lilydale.

ACTION: Travis Dowling. To ensure that the Metropolitan Stocking Group be re-established.

5 Phil Smallman – Improving recreational fishishing for those with disabilities

Phil spoke on fishing with a disability and his experience as a paraplegic. He recommended The Victorian Fisheries Authority provide support to allow for angling club assessments by an occupational therapist and funding for professional interaction to help and encourage those with a variety of disabilities to participate in angling.

ACTION: Travis Dowling. Fisheries staff will work hard to actively engage with and promote inclusiveness in fishing by people who may face physical or intellectual challenges, cultural diversity, gender and age.

ACTION: Mike Burgess. That VRFish have a positive involvement in getting more disabled anglers into clubs.

6 Sally Fensling - Executive Director, Strategic Projects, DEDJTR

Sally provided an update on the progress of the VFA regarding the VFA Act 2016, board and CEO appointments, transition to the VFA, and achieving operational continuity.

7 Roger Van Hilst (FV) , Stuart Kells and Paul Edney – Review of fishing fees, royalities and levies

Roger advised the meeting of the Review of Fisheries Regs (Fees, Royalties and Levies) and discussed the Recreational Fishing Questionnaire which was issued to members. 

Contact Roger Van Hilst at The Victorian Fisheries Authority should further information be required.

8 Anthony Foster – Manager, Freshwater Fisheries

Anthony spoke on freshwater fisheries highlights:

  • The 2016 Talk Wild Trout conference
  • The 2016 Murray Codference
  • Stocking update:
    • on track to stock 3.5 + million fish this year
    • EPs stocked into National Water Sports channel and Mordialloc Creek
    • TEP endorsement to stock EPs into the Maribyrnong and Barwon Rivers 
    • extra 80,000 Murray cod into the Goulburn River in response to blackwater
    • new silver perch stocking into northern family friendly lakes.
  • Hazelwood barramundi:
    • opened 9 December 2016
    • 26,000 boat-based ballot registrations from 4,500 applicants
    • 2,2646 boat-based permits were issued
    • permit requirement removed from 1 March
    • patchy fishing but several fish over 80cm 
    • power plant closure.
  • Freshwater fisheries management plan
  • Native fish monitoring and report cards project
  • Minimum size limits for trout.

ACTION: Anthony Forster. Send PDF of Codference and Talk Wild Trout proceedings to SRFR members.

9 Michael Burgess – CEO VRFish

Michael advised that VRFish is currently engaged in a number of projects:

  • Dartmouth access
  • trout surveys and tagging
  • the PPB scallop dive survey is progressing
  • the Little Murray rehabilitation project to reintroduce habitat
  • Young Future Leaders have produced a around Murray River red gum parks
  • looking at an e-news format to get out information
  • attended the Hooked on Lakes Entrance event
  • will be at the upcoming Portland Tuna Festival
  • working with enhanced best practice for Murray cod.
  • concern about the practice of catching very small mako sharks
    Action – Mike Burgess. VRFish to write to The Victorian Fisheries Authority regarding the mako shark issue
  • Dwarf Mexican crayfish are being imported and sold through aquarium industry. Concern that they may carry viruses.

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable #46

Chair: Merv McGuire 

Secretariat: Julie Morgan 

Summary dated: 12 April 2017