SRFR Meeting #43 - 1 June 2016

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #43

Forum date: Wednesday June 1st 2016

Location: Mercure Hotel , 13 Nicolson St., East Melbourne.

Chair's Summary

Key discussion items from State-wide Roundtable meeting #43

  1. Update of current activities by the Australian Trout Foundation.
  2. Update of the management arrangements for sand flathead.
  3. Overview of recreational fishing projects being currently undertaken by ARI.
  4. VRFish activities and immerging recreational fishing issues, challenges and opportunities.
  5. Target One Million - Update of promotional activities/actions undertaken to reach target.
  6. Update on the progress of the establishment of the 'Victorian Fisheries Authority'.
  7. Update of Inland Fisheries activities.
  8. Report on current Fisheries Management activities.

Terry George, President Australian Trout Foundation

Terry reported an update of current activities by the ATF and presented the following -

  • "There are ongoing trout fisher perceptions of low abundance of trout in lower levels of rivers and streams.  The Ovens River was restocked after the recent bush fire." ATF submitted Vic Fish Stock proposal to stock: The Kiewa, King and Buckland Rivers – decision pending the outcome of Wild Trout Fishery Management Program (WTFMP) research.  As part of this program the trout stocking of the Howqua and Upper Goulburn Rivers are being assessed.
  • Confirmed that overseas research shows that "hatchery stocking could reduce overall numbers of wild stock and does not improve recreational fishing outcomes in the long term."
  • As a possible solution aid, the in-stream or streamside "Scotty" incubators concept was presented. An actual incubator was tabled.
  • The ATF is keen to trial these in conjunction with FV & VRFish as part of the WTFMP.  Anthony Forster recommended that eggs be chemically marked with barium so that we can assess if the trial works. This could be done next season as we are still refining barium treatment methods.
  • Terry advised the cost of in-stream "Scotty" incubators was around $US50 each.
  • Terry requested FV approval to install incubators. FV to follow up.

Bill Lussier - Manager, Marine and Estuary Fisheries, Fisheries Victoria

Update of the management arrangements for sand flathead. 

  • Bill provided a presentation to the group summarising the trends of Sand Flathead in Port Phillip Bay.  In summary, the Port Phillip Bay Sand Flathead recreational fishing has been steady for over five years.
  • Research shows that prior to this period there has been a decline in recruitment and abundance.  Many factors are believed to have contributed to this decline but in particular the prolonged drought period and subsequent limited years for successful spawning.
  • Fisheries Victoria are working with a variety of stakeholders to encourage increased environmental water flows in key rivers to assist with the opportunity for natural successful spawning of Sand Flathead for Port Phillip Bay.

Renae Ayres (for Jarod Lyon) Arthur Rylah Institute

Overview of recreational fishing projects being currently undertaken by ARI.

Dallas D'Silva, General Manager, VR Fish

Dallas reported the following VRFish activities and immerging recreational fishing issues, challenges and opportunities.

  • Vale Trevor Buck & Don Ellis.  Plaques in their memory at Torquay & Bemm River
  • VRFish Strategic plan is available in the Fishing Lines magazine.
  • The VRFish Political bell curve -outlining various positions of fishing issues.  VRFish role is to bring all views together.
  • Gippsland swordfish very positive.  Caught on bait at around 1000 depths located along Victorian coast.
  • Gippsland lakes – submissions regarding river mouths are being considered by Fisheries Victoria.
  • VRFish recently held a growing future leaders course over 5 days at Port Fairy.  VRFish thanked Fisheries Victoria for assistance. The concept is supported by FRDC.
  • VR Fish are working to complete a video on best practice thresher shark fishing, funded by the RFL small grants program.
  • Federal election.-  Wish list for fishing on Website.  Led by Alan Hansard.
  • Carp Virus –strong support of work from VRFish.  Major logistics issue for dead carp clean up. 3 days is time span from infection to death.
  • New water plan for Victoria. VRFish is a stakeholder.  Draft plan being developed.
  • VR Fish are working through some access issues including
    • Silt Jetties – loss of access to silt jetties.
    • Long Jetty – Port Welshpool – damaged. $5m Victoria Govt. for repairs, $1m local govt.  Nothing from Federal Government.  Dallas to contact Broadbent.
  • Dallas advised that Catherine O'Shea – new VRFish staff member will replace Michelle while she is on maternity leave.

Brian Mottram (for Craig Ingram)

Target One Million -  Update of promotional activities/actions undertaken to reach target.

  • Brian reported that Craig Ingram has led the commercial netting buyout in PPB.
  • 33 of 43 netters have ceased netting from Port Phillip Bay as of 1 April 2016
  • Brian also reported on the following proposed 2016 Regional engagements to assist in reaching the Target 1million in 2016.

      Upcoming Conferences

    • Port Phillip Bay Conference 12th August at Altona.  
    • Talk Wild Trout 5th November at Mansfield.
    • Murray Cod conference 11th December at Shepparton.
    • Regional Roundtable Meetings

    • Shepparton 5th August
    • Ballarat 8th September
    • Martha Cove 23rd September
    • Geelong 18th October
    • Bendigo TBC
    • Lake Tyers TBC
    • Other community activities

    • Trout festivals will this year be held at both Eildon and Ballarat on 3rd September 2016. Details to be announced.
    • "Gone Fishing Day" is on October 16th. Club events encouraged on that day  -
    •  Opportunity to use Stronger Angling Club grants and/or RFL small grants to support events.

Brian also advised the progress of the following "Target 1m" initiatives –

  • Stronger Fishing Club Grants - $2,000 – 38 applications have so far been approved.
  • Native stocking has been completed for this season.
  • Trout – Trout spawning in full swing at Snobs Creek.
  • Family Fishing waterways will be stocked prior to the June/July school holidays.
  • Native fish suppliers are attracting a lot of interest from overseas.  This is a concern to future supplies of fish to the Victorian fish stocking program.  Fisheries Victoria are working with the suppliers to ensure adequate supply in available.
  • Toolondo – boat ramp has been extended to allow continued access to the lake.  Current water levels are continuing to provide exciting fishing opportunities.
  • Taylors Lake – boat ramp access work is being undertaken in conjunction with Grampians Wimmera Mallee water.

Concerns were raised by some attendees following the recent stocking of Lake Buffalo.

  • When is stocking happening in future?
  • Publicity to anglers and community re stocking dates and locations needs to be improved.
  • Seeking better communication of stocking activities.

Jarrod Dobson, Senior Adviser to Minister Jaala Pulford Alex Krummel, Project Director, (Legal and Governance, Strategic Projects)

Update on the progress of the establishment of the 'Victorian Fisheries Authority'

Jarrod and Alex reiterated the following benefits and developments to date for the establishment of the VFA.

  • Introduction – context of the VFA
    Highlighted importance of Victorian fisheries.
    Estimated value - $7.1 bill 2013-2014 into economy.
  • Potential benefits of the VFA
    Accountability and transparency.
    Robust and clearer governance arrangements.
  • Proposed Objectives Include
    Promote sustainability and responsibility in fishing.
  • The Board
    It is proposed that the Board consist of no less than 5 and no more than 8 members.
    The CEO is proposed to be appointed by the Board.
  • VFA Staff
    Fisheries Staff will remain as VPS staff which allows for a smooth transition into the Authority.

 Potential timelines (to be confirmed)

  • Bill drafting from early 2016
  • Bill intro and passage from mid 2016
  • Board appointments from start 2017
  • CEO appointment from mid 2017
  • Operational from mid 2017

Anthony Forster Manager, Freshwater Fisheries, Fisheries Victoria

Anthony reported the following update of Inland Fisheries activities.

  • The 2016 "Talk Trout" Conference has been scheduled for November 5.
    Key themes include;
    Size limits,
    Global and local science on climate change and trout,
    Anglers working with CMA's to plant trees that provide shade on trout
  • Murray Cod
    The MC Conference has been scheduled for 11 Dec 2016 at Shepparton.
    The key themes are yet to be determined.
    FV is commissioning Paul Hardy-Smith to do veterinary work on Murray cod
  • Hazelwood Update
    April - 1500 barramundi stocked up to 30cm.
    All tagged fish.
    No reports of fish kills.
    Limited illegal fishers.
    All fishing currently banned. Water expected to drop to 19 degrees over winter.
  • Mulloway Stocking
    5000 released at Tamboon Inlet.
    11,000 released at Lake Tyers
    Unconfirmed reports of mulloway catches of good size.
    Angler Diary program being set up to track.
    All Mulloway are calcein marked.
  • Other Stockings
    25000 Estuary perch were stocked last year.
    Around 5,000 stocked into the Bemm River to compensate for brood fish removal.
    Silver perch have been released into Lake Boga.
    Fish havens are working well.
  • Lake Burrumbeet
    Lake almost dry. Still connected to creek. Need to ensure carp don't reinfest water.
    Lake is also a commercial eel fishery. Screening to be used to restrict carp infestation.

Travis Dowling, Executive Director, Fisheries Victoria

Travis updated the forum on current Fisheries Management issues.

  • Opera House nets
    Working with AFTA to sort opera house nets that allow escape through top. Needs to take away risk to native wildlife.
  • South West Rivers
    Debate over closure of fully stocked trout fisheries in South West Victoria. All issues science/social/other to be considered.
  • Vic/NSW licence
    Expected to be able to get a single licence at full cost of both licences by end of year.
  • Gippsland Lakes
    Consultation with Recreational and Commercial fishers is under way.
  • Lake Eildon
    Will now be open year round for Murray cod fishing. This is expected to be a great winner for the region and Victoria as our only year round cod fishery.
  • Bag limits
    Golden perch bag limit has been reduced from 10 to 5.
  • RFL fee increase
    Proposed increase is currently with the Minister. Possibly will go through as put out in consultation. Proposed price rise as of 1/7/16.
  • Victorian Fisheries Authority
    Intent of VFA to grow participation and be customer friendly and customer focused.
  • Don Ellis - Vale
    The passing of Don Ellis was acknowledge and his contribution to the Statewide Roundtable meetings was applauded. Don was involved in many improved fishing ideas and recently in the canvassing and planning of Bemm River fishing jetties.

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable #43
Chairman: Merv McGuire
Secretariat: Julie Morgan
Summary Dated: 13/07/016

Next Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #44– Scheduled September 9 2016