Chairperson's Summary #63
10:05 am MEETING OPEN - Julia Menzies – RoundtableChairman
Welcome and apologies.
Previous Roundtable actions/ Follow up.
No existing outstanding Actions
NEW ACTIONS – Arising from Meeting #63 –18th Jun 2021
Julie to provide the Rickets Point presentation to Richard Rogala for the RFL Working Group.
Minutes from Meeting #62 accepted.
VFA Update – Travis Dowling
The VFA is going well with delivering key commitments.
This includes the
- 8 million fish stocked last year (on our way to 10 million),
- assets that we are building,
- reefs being constructed,
- the Gippsland Lakes Netting Buyout,
- Arcadia hatchery build, and
- Event delivery.
Travis discussed Crown Land access and camping and thanked VRFish and the recreational fishing community for their support.
The VFA will soon be announcing 10 regional forums, where they will go to angling clubs to talk about what’s happening across fishing and generate feedback and ideas from fishers.
The Snobs Creek administration building has been totally refurbished. Spring Street is about to open a desk front walk-in office, where you will be able to come in and talk to someone from VFA without the need to go through the current security measures.
VFA Update – Dallas D’Silva
An issue has recently emerged at Corner Inlet with Commonwealth licenced trawlers targeting King George whiting that are aggregating offshore to spawn. Over the past 6 months, a lot of work has gone into developing a Management Plan for Corner Inlet. This work has been done through consultation with commercial fishers, recreational fishers, traditional owners and local conservation groups. Seafood Industry Victoria is also supportive of what the VFA is calling for – a zero trip limit to stop the targeting of King George whiting. South Australia and Tasmania both gave zero limits for Commonwealth vessels fishing onshore. It is concerning because of the large quantities of fish that they can catch. It undermines the work that has been done in the fishery. The Minister will be briefed on the matter.
Dallas has been working closely with Ben Scullin and Rob Loats with the VRFish Review and a new two-year funding agreement. It is aimed to be signed off by 1 July.
Tourism Plan – Chris Padovani VFA
The VFA is planning implementation of the Recreational Fisheries Tourism Strategy. This strategy will allow anglers and the VFA to promote and improve our wonderful recreational fisheries.
The treasurer has recently announced an increase of 1.5% to the Fee Units within Victoria. Three of the four RFLs are Fee Unit based.
- The 3-day licence is a fixed $10, so it won’t change.
- Prices for 21-day, 1-year and 3-year RFLs will increase by 1.5% from 1 July.
- A 5% discount was introduced some years ago to encourage fishers to buy online. About 98% are now bought online. Preliminary work is now being done to look at how that discount could be removed.
Freshwater Fisheries –– Taylor Hunt VFA
A newsletter has been distributed with the Freshwater update. Fishing has been good for cod, trout and redfin.
The Codference was held in April with 320 attendees. Tiger trout have been stocked into the crater lakes. There is year-round cod fishing in Western Victoria in the Wimmera and Millicent basins. There is work being done on small bodied native fish in collaboration with NFA and some CMAs.
The VFA has put in a bid to host the World Recreational Fishing Conference in Melbourne in 2024. It is the biggest conference for recreational fishing worldwide.
RFL Strategic Plan –– Taylor Hunt VFA
The RFL Strategic Plan was a key recommendation out of the Marsden Jacobs RFL review. The Minister recommended that the Strategic Plan be developed and that we form a sub-committee.
o A draft strategic plan was developed.
o The plan was produced and then released for public comment for thirty days. Public comment was sought from SRFR members and key fishing opinion leaders. Good commentary was received along with two written submissions.
o Some members of the SRFR did not support the process of developing the plan and would have liked more meetings before it was finalised. Other members were happy with the process and felt it was adequate.
o Some fishers supported the process
o The plan has now been finalised and published on the VFA website.
Marine Fisheries Update – Michelle Wenner VFA
Michelle has distributed a Marine Fisheries newsletter for members. This newsletter will be produced every 3 months prior to the SRFR meetings.
Native Fish Hatchery – Anthony Forster
Great progress is being made at the Arcadia Hatchery.
- Earthworks are now 95% complete with 32 ponds built, the underground plumbing done and the centralised harvest station done.
- The hatchery building has gone out to tender. It will be a 48m x 16m colour-bond shed.
- The office building, a demountable unit, will hold up to 6 work stations with the option of future expansion to meet with growth at the hatchery.
- There is a 50% indigenous employment target at the hatchery and we will soon announce a GoTafe VFA partnership to run a twelve month Cert III Agriculture course with four fish farming units.
We have recently secured $3m of funding for the visitors centre. This will be located at the front of the property. It will be a modern building in a wetland landscape with a strong emphasis on indigenous culture. We are working closely with the Yorta Yorta people to tell the story of their connection to native fish.
Port Phillip Bay Fishery - Dane Robinson – Senior Fisheries Officer – Braeside
Dane is a very experienced Senior Fisheries Officer, having been with the VFA for 30 years. He is currently stationed at the new Braeside site. This site was established to divide the metropolitan area into two regions, providing greater emphasis on the Yarra River and covering Port Phillip Bay to the upper Yarra.
Last year there was a huge aggregation of snapper in the Rickets Point Marine Sanctuary. This happened as the new station was starting. Dane showed drone footage of the apprehension of those committing illegal activity in the sanctuary.
There is a lot of work done by Fisheries Officers that isn’t just talking to anglers on jetties, because the Officers can’t be seen doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
New Action: Julie to provide the Rickets Point presentation to Richard Rogala for the RFL Working Group.
Better Boating Victoria - Katherine Grech
Better Boating Victoria was brought in under the Victorian Fisheries Authority on 1st February - falling under the Department of Transport. There is a team of eight with BBV.
BBV have been progressing upgrades to boat ramps around the State. The Government committed to upgrades at Rhyll, Queenscliff, and Point Richards and are all ready to commence.
A second pontoon will be installed at Hastings, and the ramp upgrade has been completed. Dredging is ready to start at Mordialloc, extra pontoons will be installed, and the carpark will be reconfigured next February.
Concept designs have been commissioned for future projects following on from these election commitments. Work is being done to start upgrades at Werribee, Lime Burners, Corio Bay, Avalon and Kirk Point. On Western Port, designs are being progressed at Lang Lang, Stoney Point and Cowes. Work is also being looked at for Anderson Inlet. Plans are almost finalised for Cape Conran. Funding has been received for works in the new financial year at Warrnambool and Lake Bullen Merri. The boat ramp at Warranga Basin will be duplicated, complimenting the VFA’s fish stocking. There will also be boat ramp work on the North Arm at Lakes Entrance.
All the works are based around extra access with more ramps and more parking space for faster and easier launching and retrieval.
BBV is close to being able to release a Boating Strategy for public discussion and final consultation.
VRFish Update – Ben Scullin VRFish
Ben Scullin has been appointed as the new Executive Officer of VRFish. Chris Leckie has retired from the VRFish Board and has been replaced by Rita Caulfield.
Issues for recreational fishers have been identified with the catch rates of King George whiting by commercial fishers.
Access to Crown Land via unused roads is appearing to be more of an issue than the use of the water frontage Crown Land.
The VRFish Advocacy Survey has just closed with interesting initial results. Full results will be presented at the next meeting.
The spider crab aggregation in Port Philip Bay is about to commence. They have begun to aggregate at Corner Inlet and are still in 7m water off from Rye. The VFA’s Education and Enforcement units are preparing for the event.
ATF Update - Terry George
Fishcare were planning a tree planting day in collaboration with ATF for tomorrow. This has been canceled due to Covid restrictions.
A tree planting session was recently held at the Nariel Creek near Corryong. Habitat events will start again in September.
Cobungra has had a washaway. NECMA will repair the washaway, Bairnsdale Fly Fishers are fixing the fences, and ATF are providing the trees. This work will also be done in September. Habitat work is coming up at the Macalister and Steavenson Rivers along with the Ovens and Rubicon. Meetings have been held with AGL about the desilting of the hydro dams affecting the Rubicon. The aim is to minimise the amount of silt coming out of the dams as well as the amount going into the streams above the dams.
Last year the Macalister, Upper Dargo, Jamieson and the King Rivers were stocked with 50,000 first feeding fry. Follow up electro fishing was done in April. The results look very promising but final results are not quite ready. All the fin clips were sent to Melbourne University for analysis.
One of the actions required for the Large Grant that was given to the ATF was to promote sustainable trout fishing destinations and sensitive harvesting practices. There is a portal on the ATF’s new website where the different regions can put their contact details. On that page will be a map showing fishing locations, businesses, facilities, accommodation, food etc. The first promotional region will be the North-East. The regions will be promoted as good trout fishing destinations.
NFA Update – Ron Lewis
The new hatchery is still undergoing negotiations with LaTrobe University. The use of an enclosed area next to the NFA’s current hatchery has been negotiated allowing utilisation of current equipment that was donated earlier in the year. The hatchery at the moment has had successful breeding of the Murray River rainbow fish. This has encouraged extra volunteer workers including students from the university.
Some NFA members were involved with the spotted tree frog work where trout were relocated out of a stream to help the endangered frogs.
There will be a release of southern pygmy perch into the LaTrobe University moat system.
Macquarie perch breeding time in the Yarra occurs at the same time that Fisheries Officers are heavily involved with snapper in the Bay. The NFA is seeking assurance that some attention will be given to the Yarra waters at this time.
Fishcare Update – Sarah van Stokrom
Fishcare have been very busy. Normally Fishcare runs over 350 events per year. This year, despite Covid, they have still been able to run 276. This is a creditable achievement for staff and volunteers.
Assistance was given with the VFA’s Vic Fish Kids at Shepparton and Torquay.
The Fishcare trailers have been upgraded.
The training conference was able to be delivered in East Gippsland.
Michael from Frogley’s Offshore has provided uniforms for Fishcare volunteers.
There has been a huge influx of volunteers over the last 6 months, mostly from the metropolitan area. Volunteers from Deakin University have been doing work on how other similar organisations work and how they source funding, how they get volunteers, their outputs, and their objectives.
The All Ability program is progressing well, with a lot of interest being shown. Regular events are being delivered in Melbourne Metro and Geelong.
Recreational Fishing Programs – Brian Mottram
Short of time for a verbal update. Newsletter circulated.
Questions & Close - Julia Menzies
Meeting closed 1:00pm
Next Roundtable meeting #64 - 10th Sept 2021
Location/process pending COVID-19 update