SRFR Meeting #41 - 4 December 2015

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #41

Forum date: Friday December 4th 2015
Location: Fisheries Victoria, 8 Nicolson St., East Melbourne.

Chair's Summary

Key discussion items from state-wide roundtable meeting #41

  • Overview and comparison of Fisheries Victoria and Fisheries Canada..
  • Decline of Sand Flathead in Port Phillip Bay.
  • Update of the development of the Victorian 'Fisheries Statutory Authority'.
  • Update on the commercial netters buyout in Port Phillip Bay.
  • Executive summary of the latest Ernst and Young fishing activity and value to Victoria.
  • Freshwater Fisheries update.
  • Update of the 'Recreational Fishing Improvements' program projects.
  • Fisheries Vic media communications update.

Alison Webb – Director, Fisheries Management, Fisheries Victoria.

Having a successful past career with Canadian Fisheries, Allison presented a very comprehensive and informative overview and comparison of Canadian Fisheries and Fisheries Victoria management.

Alison's presentation is available by email on request to Mr Duncan Hill of Fisheries Victoria at

Concern re the decline of Sand Flathead in Port Phillip Bay

Brian Wright/Ross Winstanley, James Andrews (Leading Scientist FV), Alison Webb FV

In response to previous concerns of the decline of sand flathead in Port Phillip Bay by Roundtable members, James Andrews provided an overview of current knowledge regarding sand flathead abundance within PPB, environmental conditions which influence productivity and the decline in abundance. 

  • Ross Winstanley called for decision on future FV action management of sand flathead in PPB.
  • James Andrews indicated that the Department had one of the best data sets of any Victorian fishery for sand flathead which may enable further investigation of management options.
  • Brian Wright expressed concern relating to stocks of other flathead species in the bay. He suggested management controls may need to extend to other species than just sand flathead.
  • Craig Ingram used example of golden snapper in NT as a comparable fishery problem and highlighted the need to use communication so fishers understand the issues and problems. Fishers need to understand and know the issues in order to support and own the solution.
  • Tom Camp asked if Yarra River inflows are the solution and are there any other species which are being affected in the same way?
  • James Andrews advised that inflows are not the only variable and that there doesn't appear to be any other species in PPB affected the same way.

Sally Fensling – Acting ED, Regulation Enforcement, DEDJTR

Sally provided an update on progress of establishment of Fisheries Statutory Authority.

  • Introduced Alex Krummel who is leading the project team with 2 policy officers. Advised that Alexandra had a legal background and has worked closely with Sally in the past.
  • Minster has made it clear that a stat authority will go ahead and the following has been decided
    • Name decided (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
    • Staff will remain as VPS employees with the same benefits
    • The broad range of FV functions will come across
    • Skills based board will be recruited through public process appointed by CEO.
  • Legal appointee to draft process for CEO and board appointments
  • Informal consultation meetings with FV staff and stakeholders to come
  • Stat Authority team are developing before and after maps to show what change and what will come across
  • Up to 8 process maps will be developed and will be available by next meeting.

Sally advised that the process maps would be presented at the next roundtable meeting.

  • Sally reported that four major concerns were currently being addressed by the Stat Authority team:
  1. What will the VFA do? (What functions will it deliver - policy, compliance, management, education?)
  2. How and by who will it be done?
  3. What governance arrangements are needed to be put in place to enable this? (Role of the board? How many board members? Role of the CEO?)
  4. What amendments are required to existing legislation and how long will it take?

Sally will present an update on these concerns at the next roundtable meeting. (March 2016)

Craig Ingram – Coordinator Target One Million, DEDJTR

Craig Ingram provided an update on progress of the Port Phillip Bay commercial netters buyout and other 'Target One Million' initiatives.

  • Legislation passed through parliament in the last sitting week. Hoping to have the start date as the 16th Dec.
  • First licenses to be bought out by 01 April 2016
  • Corio Bay to close 01 April 2018
  • All netting to be removed from PPB by 2022
  • Will retain the existing long line fishery in PPB however this fishery will remain as quota managed snapper fishery. 11T P/A for 8 license holders which is based on historical catch data.
  • $20 million buyout package has been increased to $27 million. To encourage early exit the payment are incentivised by reducing as each year passes.

Craig advised that Gippsland lakes river mouths netting consultations with commercial and recreational fishers will begin in the new year - 2016.

Craig to present update on the Gippsland Lakes at the March 2016 Roundtable Forum.

Anthony Forster – Manager, Freshwater Fisheries, FV

Anthony presented the Freshwater Fisheries Update:

  • Talk Wild Trout: About 200 delegates attended included international speakers. Results were provided for the first year of the trout management project. Minimum size lengths were discussed and Fisheries will develop options for VRFish and ATF to review.
  • Presentations from the Talk Wild Trout 2015 Conference have been completed and are live on YouTube and the Fisheries Victoria website.
  • Murray cod slot limits regulations: Fisheries will maintain the existing Murray cod slot limit regulations for another 12 months and will trial removing closed season on MC in Eildon which has been trialed successfully elsewhere in Australia.
  • Golden perch regulations: stakeholder feedback indicated that large numbers of golden perch being caught within current bag limits and there are concerns that the current bag limits are too high. Fisheries Victoria have suggested reducing bag limits from 10 to 5 p/person in lakes which aligns with NSW regulations and existing river regulations in Victoria. Consultation will occur throughout Jan 2016. Lake Bolac estuary perch recovery: Commercial eel fishers have been contracted to undertake fish salvage operation at Lake Bolac. 5 days have been spent capturing and relocating 127 estuary perch to Lake Hamilton which concluded on the 3rd of December.
  • Marine stocking: Commenced with 5,000 mulloway released into Lake Tyers. Fisheries have also committed to stocking estuary perch into Lake Tyers. Brood stock with appropriate genetics has been collected with progeny proposed to be stocked early in the new year.
  • Hazelwood barramundi: Fisheries have successfully trialed barramundi survival at location. Next stage is to stock 1,000 fish of differing size classes and determine where they go and how they survive? Will likely close the fishery for at least 6 months to monitor survival and performance.

Brian Mottram – Manager, Recreational Fishing Improvements FV

Brian provided an update of the Recreational Fishing Improvements team's current work and projects:

  • Fish production and liberation program: Busy period at Snobs Creek as salmonid and native production gear up. Fisheries are likely to stock in excess of 3 million fish and will be working hard to deliver this important commitment. The fish production and liberation team are at full capacity with their salmonid and native fish production and a steady stream of liberations across the state. Can it be achieved.
  • Snobs Creek infrastructure: Fisheries are likely to secure funding to construct a further 2 plankton ponds at the Snobs Creek sourcing funds from within the department. These plankton ponds will be essential in both maintaining the programs current production levels and looking to increase into the future.
  • Better Fishing Facilities Fund: Program currently underway with a number of projects already delivered, majority of projects currently underway and more currently under negotiation with land and water managers.
  • Drought assistance program: Fisheries Victoria will be assisting by organizing stockings and fishing events at select locations throughout some of the drought affected areas of western and central Victoria.
  • Trout opening festival 2016: Fisheries have held another successful trout opening festival at Eildon and next year will be looking at options to expand the festival further by conducting an event at an additional site (most likely Ballarat).

Marc Ainsworth – Senior, Communications Officer, Fisheries Vic, DEDJTR

Marc provided a short summary of projects covered by Fisheries Victoria's media and communication unit. He advised that the:

  • 2016 recreational fishing guide has been completed and is now available. App update and web update to follow.
  • Social media (12,000 followers) 168 stories for 2 million views.
  • Instagram account will begin early in new year

Merv McGuire – Chairman, SRF Roundtable, General discussions

  • The executive summary of the Ernst and Young FISHING ACTIVITY report was presented and circulated to roundtable members.
  • Tom Camp provided a broad overview of the Ernst and Young report and requested that all roundtable members take the time to familiarize themselves with the report and its findings.
  • The meeting was advised report is available to all upon request to Dallas D'Silva at VRFish.
  • Don Ellis requested updates on the access to following fisheries – Bemm and Acheron Rivers. Fisheries to advise at the next meeting.
  • Don Ellis also advised that young and elderly anglers were having trouble determining suitable metro waters and would like Fisheries Vic to consider reintroducing an updated access to metro waters booklet. Fisheries to advise at next meeting.
  • Ric Falou led a general discussion about potential opportunities of spear fishing for Carp in some Victorian inland waters. This is currently not a permitted activity. Ric advised that he is making progress in developing a proposal for a trial of carp spearfishing.

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable #41
Chairman: Merv McGuire
Secretariat: Duncan Hill
Summary Dated: 10/02/2016

Next Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #42 – Scheduled March 18 2016