SRFR Meeting #32 - 13 September 2013

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #32

Date: September 13th 2013
Location: Fisheries Victoria, 1 Spring St, Melbourne.


Chair's Summary

The key items discussed at the 32ndStatewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum were:

  • Anthony Forster is Acting Director, Fisheries Management and Science until 1 Nov. 2013.
  • Commercial Cost Recovery Regulatory Impact Statement.
  • Goulburn Fishing Festival Trout Opening.
  • Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Terms of Reference.
  • Recreational Fishing Licence review.
  • RFL revenue expenditure.
  • DSE Freshwater Ecosystems Update.
  • VEAC report on Victorian Marine Parks.
  • Latest Fisheries Victoria communications.
  • Proposal to build a Gold mine on the Longreach Creek.
Anthony Forster is now Acting Director, Fisheries Management and Science

The meeting was advised that Anthony Forster and Brian Motram are rotating in the Acting Director, 'Fisheries Management and Science' role until a permanent appointment is made and that Anthony Forster currently holds this position until November 1st2013.

Commercial Cost Recovery Regulatory Impact Statement

Fisheries Vic. ED, Ross McGowan advised that the Commercial Cost Recovery Regulatory Impact Statement:

  • Was put out for comment (60 days – public comments to be received by 24 September 2013).
  • Once public comments are received, recommendations will be provided to the Government for options to be adopted in relation to services to be provided. Percentage of cost recovery over the next three years is proposed to be as follows: 30% in 2014, 60% in 2015, 100% in 2016 of the full recoverable costs.
  • Fisheries Victoria is not the recipient of the recovered costs – these funds go to Treasury.
Goulburn River Fishing Festival Trout Opening

The meeting was advised this event was heldin Eildon on September 6/7th. 2013 and wasvery successful.   It was recorded that:

  • 800 trout were released into the pondage for the event.
  • Fisheries staff were on hand at the pondage providing fishing rods and bait and educating participants on how to fish.
  • Approximately 500 people registered their attendance at the event with 70% of those being non-locals. This was a great indication of people travelling to Eildon for the event and a great reflection of the drawing capacity of the event.
  • Tours of the Snobs Creek Hatchery were well received. Six bus trips (bus capacity of approximately 50 people) went through the Hatchery equating to 250-300 participants.
Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Terms of Reference.

Ross McGowan and SRFR Chair Merv McGuire presented the proposed TOR's for forum comment.

  • It was agreed the TOR's needed to be amended, as they are complicated and lengthy.
  • A concern was raised that some VRFish members are not invited to attend the Roundtable meetings and their concerns that this forum is a decision-making forum. The Forum was advised those VRFish members who were not invited to attend individually are being represented by the Chairman and EO of VRFish.
  • Ross McGowan confirmed that these meetings are advisory only in nature and not decision making.
  • Reference was made to the new Fisheries Advisory Council (FAC) and the need to understand the difference between the Roundtable and the new FAC.
  • Ross McGowan advised that the FAC is an expertise-based body that has been established by the Minister to provide advice to him on strategic matters across all fisheries matters. It is a statutory body and fulfils an election commitment.
Recreational Fishing Licence review.

Ross McGowan gave the forum an update on Fisheries Vic review of the RFL.

  • He advised that the Minister has requested Fisheries Victoria investigate what can be done with the recreational fishing licence to capture more people in terms of licencing.
  • Two briefs have been presented to the Minister for his consideration. The brief focussing on a licence fee increase would involve a regulatory impact statement. At present the costing's are still under review. A successful action to capture more of the recorded 720,000 anglers, rather than the current 240,000, would achieve an increase in revenue from the RFL.
  • Ross McGowan indicated the timeline for a response to these considerations is expected before November 2014.
RFL Revenue Expenditure.

Ross Winstanley presented a report on the concerns of the expenditure of the RFL funds.

  • The report highlighted the concern of "cost shifting" of recreational fishing activities that were once included in Fisheries core business budgets, are now being paid for by the RFL funds.
  • It was suggested that given this was considered a strategic issue, it be presented to the new Fisheries Advisory Council for their consideration and discussion with the Minister.
  • In relation to the licence exemption arrangements, it was suggested some aged fishermen feel they are not captured in the statistics and their views are not represented e.g. through RFL surveys and felt they be issued a licence perhaps separate to the current licence arrangements. It was suggested that a reduced fee concessional licence may be appropriate.
  • A direct approach to the Minister was discussed but with the formation of the FAC and based on advice from Ross McGowan, the Roundtable felt the issue is first best directed to Fisheries Victoria.
  • Ross McGowan advised the Roundtable to consider the timing associated with the election next year. Whilst there is potential angst involved in increasing the RFL costs and widening it out to a broader scope of people there are also positives involved.
  • Ross McGowan also suggested that if a Roundtable Committee was established to present these issues to Government, it was important that it be presented in a clear, unified and constructive position e.g. improve the transparency of allocations of RFL funds and better capture older fishers in the licencing arrangements.
  • The Roundtable supported the following members forming a Committee: Ross Winstanley, David Kramer, Russell Conway and Tom Camp.
DSE/ARI Freshwater Ecosystems Update.

Jarod Lyon presented the following environmental program updates to the Forum:

Fish Habitat Network: The Forum was advised that the seed funding is from the FRAC and DSE. The organisational partners are Fisheries Victoria, the Arthur Rylah Institute, VRFish, Native Fish Australia and the Australian Trout Foundation. 

New Research programs that are now operational, include:

  • Mullaroo Creek fish movement,
  • Mitta River Murray cod program,
  • Werribee River bream and eflows,
  • Mildura weir fish passage,
  • Fish/habitat relationships,
  • Fish response to Goulburn River flows.
VEAC report on Victorian Marine Parks.

Geoff Fisher presented an update on the VEAC report on Marine Parks.

He reported that:

  • 3 public submission periods are to be held and a discussion paper and draft proposals paper are to be prepared.
  • The Council must report on the completed investigation by February 2014.
  • 38 discussion paper submissions were received of which 42% were from fishing interests.
  • Only 19% of submissions were "on-topic" i.e. discussed the process.
  • VEAC accept that this part of their process was not well understood and the off-topic submissions reflect that confusion.
Latest Fisheries Victoria communications.

Marc Ainsworth (Senior Fisheries Communication Advisor) advised the meeting that:

  • The 2014 Recreational Fishing Guide is currently being addressed.
  • Fisheries Victoria information on the DPI website is being migrated across to the new DEPI website.
Proposal to build a Gold mine on the Longreach Creek.
  • Rod Barford expressed concern regarding a proposal to build a gold mine in Cudgewa. Longreach creek is an important brown trout fishery. The proposed mine may hold a lot of water back and the environmental damage is estimated to be considerable.
  • At present it is only a proposal however Rod believes the mining company has received a permit.
  • Rod has advised relevant fishing authorities - Anthony Forster, Jarod Lyon and has spoken with Bill Sykes.
  • Rod has requested as much factual information as possible from the local community and those involved so that he can investigate this in more detail and provide an update at the next meeting.

Next meeting 13 December 2013

Chair:             Merv McGuire

 Secretariat:   Emma Young

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable.