SRFR Meeting #51 - 15 June 2018

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #51

Forum date: Friday June 15th 2018

Location: Victorian Fisheries Authority, Level 15, 1 Spring St., Melbourne. 3000

Chair's Summary

OUTSTANDING/ONGOING ACTIONS (from previous meetings)



That the Metropolitan Stocking Group be re-established. Meeting to be organised and led by VFA.

Discussion/outcome: ongoing

John Douglas / Anthony Forster


Bittern Dam – Parks Vic gave commitment to examine the feasibility of, and provide feedback on feasibility and cost of breaching the catch drain.

Discussion/outcome: ongoing

Chris Hardman


Request a report back on Yarra River flows.

Discussion/outcome: ongoing

Kate Simpson


Involve the broader fishing community in the 2018 Fisheries Regulations Review. (Consultants have been contracted to write the document to go out for comment.)

Discussion/outcome: ongoing

Dallas D’Silva


Follow up with the GMWater about high summer water flows down the Goulburn River.

Taylor Hunt

NEW ACTIONS – arising from meeting #51 – 15th June 2018


A plan / timeline to be developed for stakeholder input to the Regulation Impact Statement.

Dallas D’Silva & Scott Lawrence

David Kramer: Chairperson, Snobs Creek Advisory Board

A pre-release draft of the Strategic Plan for Snobs Creek was presented and will  go out for consultation. Although a record 6 million fish have been stocked in Victoria this year, many of those have been raised interstate at private hatcheries. To secure stocking in Victoria into the future, a long-term plan is needed.

If a second hatchery was developed for native fish it would secure future supply.

The draft Strategic Plan will go out for 30 days consultation.

The Snobs Creek Advisory Board wants to ensure that Snobs Creek is economically sound. Quality, quantity and flexibility are important, as well as cost effectively achieving best practice.

A Snobs Creek Annual Report is being produced for 2017/18.

Travis Dowling: CEO, Victorian Fisheries Authority

The VFA has listened to and acted on public opinion on the issue of mako sharks.

In the 6 month lead up to the State election it is important for all parties to hear the needs of recreational fishers.

The VFA’s Women in Recreational Fishing (WIRF) is offering 10 scholarships for females to attend the AFTA event on the Gold Coast in July to develop their leadership skills.

Up to 6 tonnes of ex brood stock trout up to 10lb are to be released in the Goulburn between Eildon Pondage and Molesworth for the 1 September trout opening.

There is a Commonwealth push to cut the bag limit of Southern Blue Fin Tuna. The VFA wants there to be no change until scientific outcomes are fully reviewed.

In an effort to remove opera house nets from use the VFA will offer 10,000 open top lift nets for exchange.

Fishing at Rockland Reservoir has received of a lot of positive media.

Rob Loats moved that the SRFR endorses the continued development of the Rocklands fishery with native species, specifically Murray cod and golden perch. This was seconded by Brian Wright, and voted in favour by 10 members on the SRFR. 2 members refrained from voting.

The position of Chairperson of the SRFR is to be declared vacant and will go to Expressions of Interest. Merv McGuire will retire from the position following the September meeting after 11 years of service.

David Kramer: Executive Officer, Futurefish Foundation

In the lead up to the 2018 State election Futurefish has met with both Matthew Guy and Dan Andrews and put forward their requirements for the incoming government.

  • All boat ramps in PPB and WPB to be under the same management or boat ramp authority coming under the VFA.
  • Abolition of ramp and parking fees at ramps.
  • Banning of commercial fishing in the Gippsland Lakes (apart from bait collection)
  • Build a native fish hatchery.
  • Open up the waterway at Tarago and Devil Bend to boats with electric motors.
  • VFA to get an increased budget including for research funding.
  • Build an artificial reef to attract yellow tail kingfish away from the shipping channel to reduce risk to anglers.
  • $5m to be spent on infrastructure eg cleaning tables.

Craig Ingram: Victorian Fishing Authority - Target One Million

The Women in Recreational Fishing (WIRF) group is growing stronger with increasing numbers of followers.

Snobs Creek Open Day was held very successfully on 3 June with 563 attendees.

Some of the National Carp Control Plan comms budget may be cut. A lot of work is still to be done before the proposed actual carp kill. The carp virus kill needs to be done at times of high aggregation for transmission of the virus. Kill rate could be as high as 85% at high aggregation and as low as 10% at low aggregation.

There are several events being planned as part of the roll out of the Better Fishing Facilities program, with announcements and opening of infrastructure at Clifton Springs and other places throughout Victoria.

Michael Burgess: Executive Officer, VRFish

VRFish members have had input to requests for the upcoming election. Meetings have already been held with Min Pulford and Peter Walsh where an 8 point plan was put forward.

  • Improved habitat (both marine and inland)
  • Boat Ramps – want 100% of boat registration into a trust account for ramp maintenance. Want a single body to control ramps.
  • Buyout of all 10 Gippsland Lakes net fishers (excluding bait)
  • Stocking of lakes and coastal regions
  • A native fish hatchery for northern Victoria.
  • $10m for FADs and reefs in marine fisheries.
  • Enhanced Recreational Fishing funds for the VFA for strategic allocation and leadership and training initiatives.
  • A plan for our fishing future including Fisheries Officers and researchers.

A reminder that National Gone Fishing Day is on 14 Oct.

Hayden McFaddan: Geelong Freedivers

Hayden spoke on their recently formed club - their activities, ambitions and values. Current club membership is about 40.

Dallas D’Silva and Scott Lawrence – Fisheries Regulations review

  • Internal work is being done to finalise the plan for the Regs review
  • Seeking a 12 month extension for the review
  • Will sunset current Regs in Feb 2020
  • Regulation Impact Statement scheduled for June 2019 with consultant Regulatory Impact Solutions
  • There will be both a technical version and a summarised version RIS that go out for public consultation

NEW ACTION: A plan / timeline to be developed for stakeholder input to the Regulation Impact Statement.

Terry George: President, Australian Trout Foundation

Jordan Scotty Incubators:

Under the Wild Trout Fishery Management Program (2), the VFA and ATF are working closely to evaluate the effectiveness of trout egg incubators deployed in selected trout streams. Eggs are being loaded into the Jordan Scotty incubators for deployment into the King, Jamieson, and Dargo Rivers and the Traralgon Creek. A full progress report will be given at the Talk Wild Trout conference.

Habitat Workshops:

The habitat workshop at Myrtleford was attended by about 60 and was in collaboration with the VFA, DELWP and ARI. A list of 21 projects was proposed by the meeting. Some of these projects have already commenced.

The next workshop will be held on 6 October.

Tim Curmi - President, Native Fish Australia (VIC)

Macquarie perch & Yarra River

Concerns with the Macquarie perch population in the Yarra River – no large fish found in last two years.  Have recently written to government & other stakeholders expressing these concerns.

Southern Pygmy perch breeding program

Are developing two separate breeding programs.

  • In partnership with ANGFA (Vic), the NCCMA and the City of Greater Bendigo, we recently found a number of remnant population of SPP in the upper reached of the Campaspe River.  Awaiting genetic conformation of fish to ensure they are suitable to be used in the breeding program.  Now drafting TEP and sampling permits to translocate fish to an experienced SPP breeder (Middle Creek Farm).  Initial aim to reintroduce SPP into upper reaches of Bendigo creek & later on into Gunbower & other waterways.
  • In partnership with Templestowe College, ANGFA (Vic), La Trobe University and Melbourne water developing a program to breed the South western form.  Meeting soon at Templestowe College with all major stakeholders to further develop and forward plan.  Hope to place SPP into a number of schools & public places (public libraries) and back into waterways around Melbourne.

Macquarie perch hatchery

Gearing up for next season

  • Drafted a hatchery manual
  • New permit to collect water from the Yarra River
  • New broodstock collection permit
  • Investigating new sampling sites

Boat Show live fish display

  • 4 tanks with Trout cod, Murray cod, Macquarie perch & Southern pygmy perch
  • Emphasis on fly fishing


Two ongoing projects

  • Hughes creek
  • Lake Kerford

Many new & developing habitat projects as a direct result of the ATF/NFA Habitat workshop recently held in Myrtleford

2018 Victorian Election Fishing Policy Improvement – NFA Outlook

  • Metropolitan Stocking program
  • Stream classification
  • Management of the Yarra River & other Macquarie perch populations
  • Opening of a limited Trout cod fishery in 2 rivers in Victoria
  • Endangered native fish management plan
  • Seasonal closure for selected rivers
  • Overhaul RFL grants procedure and committee structure
  • Reopen Seven Creeks to recreational angling
  • Funding for recreational angling

Anthony Forster: Manager, Freshwater Fisheries, VFA

Talk Wild Trout Conference - scheduled for Sat 11 August

This year’s Talk Trout 2018 will be held in Melbourne at the Darebin Community Arts and Entertainment Centre, Preston on Saturday 11 August 2018.  The venue seats around 380 people and we are aiming to fill it if possible. To date we have around 276 people registered (on-line) to attend the event. Conference topics:

  • Keynote speaker, Jim Fredericks, Chief of Fisheries, Idaho Department of Fish & Game, about trout fisheries management in famous American trout streams
  • Rex Hunt about his trout fishing journey
  • Status of wild trout in Victoria – survey results in streams
  • Progress report on incubator stocking trials (3 rivers)
  • Health cards for our best wild trout streams
  • Climate and trout – forecast and ground truths
  • Lure fishing southwest rivers
  • Fishing tips from a guide, Phil Weigall.

To register go to:

Murray Codference - scheduled for Sunday 9 December 2018

We have booked the same venue as last year – East Bank Conference Centre in Shepparton.

Over the next few months we will work with our Murray cod refence group to develop a Conference program.

Maribyrnong River Native Fish Revival Project – Update

Following our successful stakeholder and agency meeting and boat tour of the Maribyrnong River, we are progressing the project with available funding while we wait the outcomes of the RFL large-grant application.

Our Inland team met with Melbourne Water and DELWP last week to scope out benchmark studies for a 15 km stretch between Flemington Racecourse and Ascot Vale, including: a) Fish population surveys and, b) Fish habitat mapping.

We have also started working on project briefs and funding applications for:

  1. Indigenous and colonial history study on the Maribyrnong River fishery.
  2. A review of recreational waterway users of the Maribyrnong River.

We expect to hear the outcomes of the RFL funding bid for this project ($200,000) in July.

New land-based access to Hazelwood Barramundi fishery

In February 2018, the Victorian Fisheries Authority improved land-based facilities and leased land from Gippsland Water to ensure recreational fishers have continued access to stocked barramundi. The VFA continue to monitor the performance of the barramundi fishery.

Rocklands Reservoir stocking

For the first time, Rocklands Reservoir, near Balmoral in South West Victoria, was stocked this summer with Murray cod (215,000) and golden perch (205,000). Rockland's is one of Victoria's largest water storages and has extensive stands of timber that provide ideal native fish habitat.

The decision to stock native fish in this waterway was based on a detailed and independent fish stocking risk assessment conducted by environmental and fishery management consultants. The assessment found the stocking poses no significant risk to other endemic aquatic species.

Phasing out of Opera House yabby traps

The VFA’s proposal to reform yabby recreational fishing equipment was accepted by the State Government who recently announced that from 1 July 2019, opera house nets will be banned in all public and private waters throughout Victoria. These reforms will simplify yabby fishing regulations and reduce the incidence of native animals drowning e.g. platypus, turtles and water rats.

A one-for-one net swap program is planned, whereby fishers can trade in their old opera house nets for free 'wildlife friendly' open top lift nets.

A new mobile app to expand the Diary Angler Program

To meet a Target One Million commitment to expand the Diary Angler Program, the VFA is developing a mobile friendly App to make it easy for anglers to record their catch history for freshwater and marine waters. Measuring the performance of recreational fisheries will enable the VFA to compare the performance of key fisheries and provide valuable insight to the effectiveness of various fishery management interventions such as fish stocking, habitat restoration, changes to river flow etc.

Removing carp from Toolondo Reservoir

Since water levels have returned to Toolondo, the Victorian Fisheries Authority has stocked more than 120,000 brown and rainbow trout.

In June 2018, with the help of local charter fishing operator Trevor Holmes, around three tonne of carp (1,200 fish) were removed from Toolondo. By removing these carp it has taken out the breeding potential of around 250 million carp eggs.

Freshwater Fisheries Management Plan (FFMP) – Update

We received 26 submissions from our public consultation process on the Draft Freshwater Fisheries Management Plan. Most submissions were positive although recreational fish input was low. The FFMP Steering Group met and considered the submissions and recommended a number of changes.

Jordan Scotty egg stocking update on trials

Brown trout broodstock used in the egg trial were fin clipped to obtain DNA samples for later parent analysis of trout sampled from the wild.  The Scotty Jordan boxes will be loaded on the 16th June.  There will be approximately 50 boxes loaded with 50,000 eggs.

The boxes will then be deployed the following week with assistance from a variety of fishing clubs.

The plan for Jordan Scotty deployment are:

King River: (Queens and Stony creeks) Monday 18th June

Dargo River: (Mathesons Flat) Tuesday 19th June

Jamieson River: Thursday 21st June

Traralgon Creek: Friday 22nd June

Care for Cod campaign

The VFA have been working with VrFish and NFA to develop a communication plan to promote better handling practices for Murray cod. The key elements of the plan include:

  • Illustrated design / logo (thanks Trevor Hawkins)
  • Better handling practices video
  • Care for cod stickers (100 mm & 200 mm)
  • Sample swing / tackle tags to promote use of cod friendly gear
  • Care for cod counter cards
  • Cod gloves
  • Posters (A1 & A2 size)
  • Care for cod brochure

Marc Ainsworth: Senior Communications Adviser, VFA

Social Media: Our social media has a strong following, especially on Facebook with 45,000 followers and growing.  Organic posts reach less than 2% of these Facebook followers, which is why we are increasingly boosting posts with small amounts of money. This also enables us to target non-followers with sophisticated Facebook advertising approaches, and ensures key audiences know about projects that are making a difference to fishing in their area.

Chair: Merv McGuire

Secretariat: Julie Morgan

Summary dated: 23/06/2018