SRFR Meeting #33 - 13 December 2013

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #33

Forum date: December 13th 2013
Location: Fisheries Victoria, 1 Spring St., Melbourne.


Chair's Summary

The key items discussed at the 33rd Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum were:

  • Sponsorship of the Melbourne Zoo's Marine Response Unit
  • Climate Change; the effects on our marine and freshwater fisheries.
  • Fisheries Victoria activity report.
  • Update on current Fishing Initiative Program.
  • RT member's suggested projects.
  • Further discussions on RFL expenditure
  • Current VRFish Activity and 2014 Direction
  • Other Business – Port Phillip Bay shellfish reefs; Governance of RFL
Sponsorship of the Melbourne Zoo's Marine Response Unit
  • The Meeting was advised that AGL Energy has picked up joint sponsorship of the Marine Response Unit in conjunction with the Futurefish Foundation and DEPI and that the program can now continue.
  • Rachel Lowry has since expressed her appreciation for the support shown by the Roundtable Forum in securing sponsorship. Well done David Kramer and to all involved.
Climate Change:  Effects on our marine and freshwater fisheries


Presenter:    Daniel Gledhill, Research Team Leader, Fish Biogeography and Taxonomy Marine and Atmospheric Research. CSIRO.

  • Daniel Gledhill presented a comprehensive report on Climate Change and the effects on our marine and freshwater fisheries.
  • He advised that global warming will eventually result in cold water freshwater species retracting whilst tropical salt water species will extend their range further south into currently cooler waters.
  • Daniel provided five pdf documents that were referred to throughout his presentation for circulation to all members. (These documents are available upon request to Fisheries.)
Fisheries Victoria activity report.

Brian Mottram, (Acting Director Fisheries Management and Science) and Anthony Forster, (Manager Freshwater Fisheries) provided an update on behalf Ross McGowan and gave a summary of current projects and activities including:

  • Taylor Hunt is currently working with anglers to evaluate fish stocking success at Lake Purrumbete and Bullen Merri through angling club records.
  • Corey Green is undertaking research on tagging and tracking calamari in Port Phillip Bay.
  • Research is being undertaken on recreational fishing catch, King George Whiting recruitment and black bream to list a few.
  • 9 workshops have been conducted with Fisheries Victoria, CMAs and recreational fishers providing a synergy between all groups to identify ideas where habitat could be enhanced, improved and provide more opportunities to work together
  • Fish stocking has occurred as follows: 50,000 Estuary perch (5 lakes), 82,000 Bass stocked (Gippsland), 88,000 Chinook salmon (9 lakes). Both Brian and Anthony acknowledged the excellent work of the Snobs Creek staff.
  • In 2014 there will be fish stocking evaluation conducted for prominent recreational fishing sites to assess the presence of stocked fish – stocked fish were calcien marked.
  • Project continuing regarding access to Lake Bullen Merri. FV is currently working with land holders at present.
  • Currently working on a draft Kayak Fishing brochure and Glove Box guides.
  • The Marine section of Fisheries Management and Science have been working on setting total allowable commercial catches for giant crab, rock lobster, abalone and scallops and abalone open days, dusky flathead slot size, commercial pipi harvest in Discovery Bay and Abalone Fishery Management Plan. Prawns were stocked into Lake Tyers Thursday 12 December 2013.
  • A summary was provided regarding the Recreational Fishing Grants Program. The 2013/14 Large Grants Program opened on 1 October 2013 with applications closing on 28 February 2014. Program funds projects up to $100,000 (GST exclusive) per year for up to three years. The Small Grants Program is open all year round, with a user-friendly application form and quick turn-around, making it easy for angling clubs and community groups to apply. The program funds projects up to $5,000 (GST exclusive). Since inception in March 2010, Small Grants Program has funded 175 projects worth more than $467,000.
  • Brian mentioned to all members that it would be beneficial to have a scientist attend meeting(s) in the future to discuss their current projects and research.
  • Brian Mottram confirmed the Snobs Creek Governance Board is currently finalising the Terms of Reference. This process was delayed slightly due to the Departmental merger. Ideally the TOR will be finalised by the end of February 2014

Ross McGowan (Executive Director, Fisheries Victoria) added -

  • A Fisheries Notice has been released for public consultation to close the pipi fishery at Discovery Bay. A concern was raised regarding the difficulties of finding quality bait and how tackle shops are struggling to meet supply and demand and make a profit. Ross confirmed this is not a permanent closure, it will only be until a sustainable catch limit is determined and issues such as food safety and quad bikes damaging coastal parks is eliminated.
  • Consultation in underway regarding a fisheries notice for vehicle limits of abalone and other shellfish being caught in the Port Fairy area. Ross confirmed that the bag limit will remain the same, it is only the vehicle limit that is being included in the Fisheries Notice.
  • The Recreational Fishing Licence review has commenced in terms of getting permission from the Minister to undertake the review. This review will also incorporate undertaking a review of the associated technology and the interface with Education and Enforcement so the whole system is integrated. Invitations will be sent, ideally before Christmas, to a range of people to help the Advisory Group keep industry involved.
  • Ross advised the forum that Fish surveys are to be conducted on the North East Rivers system, namely Howqua, Jamieson, King and Upper Goulburn Rivers to examine the apparent lack of trout in these important trout fisheries.

Bill Sykes (Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries) advised the Forum of the following –

  • Fishers concerns about access to the Dartmouth Pondage - Bill acknowledged the good work being done by Dallas D'Silva and others. Discussions at parliament have been successful in raising this item for further evaluation, in particular, access being requested for certain times throughout the year.
  • Bill also reported to all members the success of Million Murray Cod and the great work of Snobs Creek staff rectifying the issue of lacking numbers of trout in the north east rivers (especially Harrietville).
  • Bill confirmed a fish kill at Falls Creek last year from AGL purging of aqua ducts. He advised a good cooperation has been received from AGL and AGL are expected to do a media release identifying their fish friendly approach to avoid future fish kills.
Update on current Fishing Initiative Program

 Brian Mottram provided an update on the Recreational Fishing Initiative to date.

  • This initiative is in its third year of a four year agreement.
  • Brian indicated there are still projects to implement and a large component of the money is allocated to be spent. Some of the project ideas discussed at the meeting today will be considered and could potentially be initiated in this financial year.
  • Brian gave a short presentation to the Roundtable highlighting RFI projects as follows:
    • Improving recreational fishing boat launching facilities
    • Improving recreational fishing access – floating infrastructure, stiles etc
    • Improving recreational fishing facilities – fish cleaning tables etc
    • Fish stocking program
    • Recreational fishing reefs
    • Improving consultation and engagement with recreational fishers (regional and statewide roundtables and CMA workshops)
    • Conduct priority research and development for recreational fishing
    • Strengthening fisheries compliance.
RT members suggested future recreational fishing projects.          

Anthony Forster addressed the forum re their suggested project ideas

  • Members were invited to expand on their suggested project ideas.
  • Merv McGuire spoke to his item regarding the Carp Eradication Program using the Koi virus. Anthony Forster updated members that CSIRO are currently undertaking research in relation to this topic which should be completed within the next 18 months. It is a Federal Government research item.
  • Brian Mottram agreed to review the Recreational Fishing Initiative spreadsheet and identify if anything can be implemented within this financial year. The remaining items will be considered as future opportunities.
  • Anthony Forster thanked those members who had submitted items for consideration.
Update of further discussions re RFL expenditure.

 Ross Winstanley expanded on suggested directions of future RFL revenue and expenditure.

  • Ross presented a six page PowerPoint presentation on Future RFL revenue and expenditure outlining suggested requirements for successful management to maximize the benefits from the additional revenues due to possible RFL price increase and the introduction of concessional licences.
  • He recommendations include -
    • to extend license fees to all 721,000 anglers by means of concessional fees,
    • improvement of governance of the RFL investment,
    • identifying specific major projects for the expanded RFL investment,
    • improve communication to rec fishers outlining how these increases will benefit recreational fishing.

This presentation is available upon request from Fisheries Victoria. 

Current VRFish Activity and 2014 Direction

Dallas D'Silva – Executive Officer, VRFish.

  • Dallas gave a comprehensive presentation on the planned VRFish direction during 2014 and the current activities being undertaken by VRFish.
  • He advised that a possible company name change is under consideration.

This presentation is available upon request from VRFish.  

Other Business                                                                                                             

The following other business matters were presented to the forum by various members.

  • Anthony Forster informed members he is working closely with the Albert Park Fishing and Yachting Club for shellfish reefs to try to re-establish fish populations. Paul Hamer is undertaking research to identify what the history of decline is and if it is possible to rehabilitate and renovate artificial reefs. Merv referred to the report titled 'Towards reconstruction of the lost shellfish reefs of Port Phillip Bay' that he had circulated the night prior to this meeting. Three new sites have been identified to put new artificial reefs.
  • Bob Pearce (recreational Fishing and Trailer Boat Advocacy representative) provided information on the history of the Albert Park artificial recreational fishing reefs. Bob indicated that re-grading the reefs seems to be a much more efficient way. Bob Pearce and Ron Lewis acknowledged the good work of Paul Hamer's report.
  • Tom Camp reminded all members of previous discussions where he has sought a review to look at the way the RFL is currently funded and operates. Tom indicated this is particularly relevant now with the Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Terms of Reference recently being modified and a review of the RFL pricing currently underway. Tom asked that his request be noted on record. David Kramer supported Tom's request and added if an evaluation does not happen then the Future Fish Board will fund their own audit.
  • Ross McGowan clarified to all members that in terms of RFL, cost recovery has not been considered. The governance for the RFL dictates that it reports to Parliament, the Minister tables the document annually in October and that document is audited.
  • Bill Sykes indicated he would discuss with the Minister the topic of reviewing the governance of the RFL.

Next Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum - March 14th, 2014.

Chair:                        Merv McGuire

Secretariat:               Emma Young

Summary Dated:         20/01/2014

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable #33.