Chairperson's Summary #64
10:05 am MEETING OPEN - Julia Menzies – RoundtableChairman
Welcome and apologies. Acknowledgement of the Traditional Owners of all the lands on which we are meeting.
Previous Roundtable actions/ Follow up.
No existing outstanding Actions
NEW ACTIONS – Arising from Meeting #64 –10th Sept 2021
Tim Curmi requested details of the VFAs Hatchery Covid Safe Plan
The blue spot yank flathead to be a discussion point at the next Roundtable.
Julia Menzies/Dallas D’Silva
A meeting to be held prior to the next SRFR to discuss the blue spot yank flathead situation. Dallas D’Silva, Brian Wright, Ben Scullin to participate.
Julia will send out an email to confirm willingness to share contact details, and then distribute list.
Minutes from Meeting #63 to be amended and reissued.
Dallas D’Silva/ Julia Menzies
All actions completed.
A late amendment to the Minutes regarding the RFL Strategic Plan has been received requesting more detail on statements by Round Table members on the process of submission of the Strategic Plan.
New Action: Minutes from Meeting #63 will be reissued.
Going forward there will be shortened VFA reports at SRFR meetings: supported by newsletters distributed prior to the meetings. This will allow more time for members to provide their reports and associated discussion.
VFA Update – Dallas D’Silva
The last few months in the VFA have been very busy. A lot of work is still being done on election commitments, particularly in Chris Padovani’s area with fish cleaning tables, the kingfish reef, and Crown Land access. Good progress has been made in these areas.
Work has been done with VRFish on the Corner Inlet Fishery Management Plan.
VFA Update Inland – Taylor Hunt
The World Recreational Fishing Conference has been secured for Melbourne in February 2023. Australia has been bidding to host this conference for approximately 20 years. It is the biggest recreational fishing conference in the world, and it is expected that around 2000 people will attend. It will showcase Victoria’s fishing to the rest of the world and will bring huge economic benefits to Melbourne, Victoria and Australia. Congratulations go to VRFish, FutureFish, the WIRF Leaders, ARF and FRDC who collaborated to put the bid together.
There is currently a strong push to raise awareness of Macquarie perch recovery. Letters have been sent out to agencies, we have a social media Facebook group called Mates of Macquarie Perch, there are websites, and we have a great partnership with WIRF Leaders, the CMAs and Landcare. That is translating into co-investment. We got a $200,000 grant from Landcare. We are also looking at some other Federal Government grants. This is ultimately to get to captive breeding to bring this species back.
The Corner Inlet Fisheries Management Plant is progressing well.
In the week of 13th September, the World Fisheries Congress will take place. It is an international conference that was to be held in Adelaide but is now virtual. There are four presentations – two from the VFA, one from WIRF and one from FutureFish that will showcase what is happening in Victoria to the rest of the world.
The Arcadia Native Fish Hatchery is progressing really well. The ponds have been dug and sown with grass, the concrete collection sump is almost complete. Two staff positions have been advertised. Planning for the Visitors Centre is progressing, and a community reference group will provide guidance with this.
The “stonkers” have been released into 18 waters around Melbourne. These are really big rainbow trout weighing 4-6kg and offering a “fish of a lifetime” experience for anglers. This creates a boost for mental health and wellbeing.
VFA Update RFI – Brian Mottram
The VFA continues to grow and stock fish at Snobs Creek. Covid-19 has been really challenging but the crew have kept working throughout the past 18 months. Covid-safe practices were introduced including splitting the staff into teams to mitigate the risks (should there be an outbreak on site) to avoid cross-contamination of skilled staff. All work is done within current guidelines and restrictions.
Event planning has been greatly impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. Some events have been run online. Regional forums started and several were run before restrictions put them on hold again. These will recommence when safe to do so. The 2021 WIRF Leaders workshop was run online. A lot of actions resulted from this forum and there will be a face-to-face interaction early in the new year.
We plan to grow some fish at Arcadia this year, in the absence of brood stock on site, using larvae either purchased commercially or taken from Snobs Creek and grown out at Arcadia. The plankton ponds are now close to being ready to fill and be utilised this year. The aim is to grow out 500,000 fingerlings at Arcadia this year.
New Action: Tim Curmi requested details of the VFAs Hatchery Covid Safe Plan. Brian to provide.
Dallas D’Silva and Chris Padovani responded to Tom Camp’s question on Crown Land Access. Regulations will be commencing shortly. The VFA’s position is that we will be supporting DELWP in the implementation of that commitment.
Target One Million: The VFA is still delivering the election commitments that fall under the T1M banner. Go Fishing Victoria is now being used in media releases and social media. We continue to cover the election commitments to get ‘More Victorians Fishing, More Often’ in more places with more stocked fish.
Better Boating Victoria – Liberty Fletcher-Seales and Duncan Hill
Better Boating Victoria joined with the VFA in February 2021 to align under the Minister for Boating and Fishing.
The was an election commitment to set up the Better Boating Fund which was enacted on 1 July 2021. This Fund returns all the recreational boating licensing into a centralized trust - similar to the RFL Trust. As a part of this, the Recreational Boating Strategy through to 2030 has been developed and is currently out for public consultation. That is looking at the entire boating system and ensuring that licensing funds are for boating including facilities, navigation aids, boating safety, education and dredging.
BBV have split the State into 8 districts. Some public consultation has been done to determine the priorities for those districts. That has formed the Strategy which is divided into 12-month action plans.
The BBV election commitments were to remove boat ramp fees, establish the Better Boating Fund, review boating infrastructure around PPB and WPB, and upgrade the priority projects. The election commitment projects were for Mordialloc Creek, Point Richards, Queenscliff boat ramp, Rhyll, Hastings, and Cowes jetty.
Other projects that are currently under way are Waranga Basin boat ramp and navigational aids, Warrnambool jetties, Lake Bullen Merri, and North Arm Lakes Entrance jetty replacement.
Work is being done on the Maribyrnong to give better opportunities for more boats on the water, aligning with the VFAs habitat restoration and stocking work. Sites for the boat ramp are being reviewed. All abilities pontoons for boat access are being installed at Seacombe.
Work is being done with standardised design guidelines for boat ramps across Victoria. There are 34 projects within the Boating Safety Facility Program. Lake Bellfield will see improvements to the ramp and carpark.
The larger concept projects cover ramps, jetties, carparks, shelters etc at Cape Conran, Kirk Point, Limeburner’s Point, Avalon, Lang Lang, Cowes Boat Ramp, Mahers Landing at Anderson Inlet, Inverloch, Altona, and Werribee South.
Rob Loats raised the lack of access to the Goulburn at Shepparton. BBV are looking at options for this.
Duncan will get back to Amanda Keilar about the option of upgrading the Grantville boat ramp.
A priority in the action plan is to work on greater access for all abilities.
Golden Tag – Craig Ingram
The Golden Tag program was set up to get people back into regional Victoria after the 2019/20 bushfires which had a major economic impact on East Gippsland and North-East Victoria. The program commenced in March 2020 and was expanded following the easing of the 2020 Covid-19 restrictions to cover more areas in regional Victoria. There were originally $2k and $10k prizes. The expansion in area has also introduced more $10k prizes.
Over 1100 fish have been tagged, with some $10k and many $2k fish in a variety of species still to be caught.
The program is currently suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions, but so far 116 prizes have been claimed including 14 $10k winners.
The program will end on 31 December 2021.
The economic benefit of Golden Tag has been assessed by Marsden Jacobs. The final results will be shared when available.
There have been high recapture rates in some areas. As an example, tagged Murray cod have had a 36% recapture rate. The was also high retention rates of some species, but this GT data would not affect catch limit regulations unless it was used in conjunction with other data that is regularly reviewed by the VFA.
WIRF – Caitlin Berecry
There are five new WIRF Leaders for 2021, bringing the total in the WIRF Leadership group to 31.
The WIRF Facebook group has close to 3,100 followers and there will soon be a WIRF Instagram profile launched.
The Leadership group had a three-day virtual workshop on the last weekend of August. This had been planned as a face-to-face event in Eildon but affected by the Covid-19 restrictions. The group was addressed by VFA staff, Board members and other mentors.
The current WIRF Strategy was reviewed, and it was noted that all requirements of that Strategy have been met. A new WIRF Strategy is being developed by a WIRF subcommittee and is planned to be available by March 2022.
The WIRF Locals program will begin in the next few months as a means of getting local women involved at a grass roots level. Webinars will be held during September on snapper and trout.
Fishcare Update – Sarah van Stokrom
Covid-19 has hampered Fishcare’s delivery in recent times, but in 2020/21 we have still been able to engage with over 3000 participants by delivering 80 school events, 45 all abilities events, and 80 community events. In February and March, 120 workshops were delivered in 90 days.
There has been a concentration on online delivery. An online Google Classroom has been developed to aid with induction and covering a range of subjects. Eighteen new volunteers have been inducted.
The limitation of events has allowed time for some administrative tasks including the development of the volunteer data base. Training and contact details are now readily accessible.
Fishcare’s new website has recently been launched. It’s easy to navigate and provides schools with access to videos and tutorials.
The delayed 2020 training conference was held in May 2021 in East Gippsland. The Fishcare AGM is to be held (today) on 10 September. A new President will take up the role. Three years of funding has been signed off, taking away the need for annual applications.
A new relationship with OzFish Unlimited has been established for all abilities project collaboration.
NFA Update – Tim Curmi
Most planned events have been cancelled/postponed. Very frustrating for all.
An NFA update was sent to all SRFR members before the meeting. The update included the great success we are having with breeding Murray River and rainbow fish. We currently have at least 1000 fry growing well and more each week. This has allowed new members to gain valuable experience in most facets of fish breeding including water chemistry and growing food for fry.
NFA have been given more space adjacent to the current hatchery. There are plans to install a number of fiberglass vats for grow out of fry and possibly Macquarie perch breeding.
We have been busy drafting new permits for the hatchery. These include Macquarie Perch collection permits, permits to keep listed fish & Aquaculture permits.
The NFA continue to negotiate in good faith with La Trobe Uni around the new hatchery.
A recent meeting was held with the Federal member to discuss possible federal support. A planned meeting with State member postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
NFA (Vic) has been around for more than 30 years. It is time to do a strategic review, likely earlyish next year. Selected stakeholders will be invited as well as current and former members.
Preparation of a scoping document & researching potential facilitators is under way.
Recent releases/breeding success
Culmination of “Fish tanks in Schools” program. Southern Pygmy perch have been released into wetland adjacent to La Trobe University. A partnership is being developed with a local high school to monitor release & hopefully breed SPP next year.
There has been a recent on-site visit to the Secondary college in Werribee. They are keen to keep and potentially breed & release SPP into a local waterway. This is on hold at the moment due to Covid-19 restrictions.
A recent release has taken place of Southern Pygmy perch into selected wetlands in Gunbower Forest. Fish were collected from a number of last year’s release sites. This project is managed by the NCCMA and is a partnership with the NCCMA, NFA (Vic), ANGFA (Vic), City of Bendigo, Middle Creek Aquaculture and local First nations groups.
There has been a recent collection of Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon from Reedy Lake number 3. The collection was conducted by members of NFA (Vic), ANGFA (Vic), NCCMA and coordinated by Austral Consulting as the lake was scheduled to be drained. Fish collected were shared between Middle Creek Aquaculture and Aquasave South Australia. Both have successfully bred the SPSG and are producing good quantities of fry that are earmarked to be released into selected wetlands around Bendigo.
ATF Update - Terry George
Stocking trials are continuing in three streams this year. The results of DNA testing from previous stockings are expected soon. These results are from fin-clips taken earlier this year.
The Jordan Scotty incubators have been replaced by first feeding fry this year with 50,000 going into the Macalister, the Jamieson and the West King.
The ATF would prefer that the Talk Wild Trout Conference 2021 be postponed until Autumn, rather than cancelled or run in a virtual format.
A number of ATF habitat events have been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. Some of the tree planting will be done by contractors as the tree stock is ready and can’t be held over until next Autumn.
The Warrnambool Habitat Workshop has been postponed to a more appropriate time.
The ATF will be meeting with the spotted tree frog committee. A breeding program is ready to start for this species to establish new colonies.
Work is being done with the VFA with the High Country Wild Trout Fishery as a tourist destination. This will appear on the ATF website providing information via a portal on the better trout fishing locations of the main High Country streams, access points, best baits, lures and flies to use, local businesses, and local attractions. The launch will be at the Bright Brewery on a date to be determined.
VRFish Update – Ben Scullin
VRFish are advocating across many areas including best practice, habitat, access, and water.
There will be a meeting (today) with AFMA to deal with the King George whiting trawler issue. Commonwealth managed trawlers have been targeting spawning aggregations of KGW off Wilsons Promontory. There is currently no catch limit. Ultimately that creates a sustainability issue for Victoria.
Public land regulations have come out with disappointing results. The Cultural Heritage Landscapes Strategy will also affect recreational fishing access to Crown Land.
There are also issues with water supply to stocked lakes in the Wimmera and Corop. Several LGAs have been identified as restricting or banning recreational fishing.
Concerns have been raised about commercial fishing depleting whiting stock for recreational fishers at Corner Inlet.
Questions & Close - Julia Menzies
Amanda Keilar: In the newsletters that were sent out there was reference to the Rock Fishing Safety Strategy. Amanda expressed her interest in being involved. Dallas responded that the plan is to run a 3-month consultation with rec fishers and the community around some mandatory locations for wearing PFDs, and would like to get local involvement. This is on hold pending the lifting of COVID restrictions.
Ray Buckland: Suggestion that fish/voters be encouraged to speak up as the upcoming election approaches.
Tim Curmi: Has the stocking policy for the VFA been drafted? Taylor responded that the policy has been developed and is pending sign off by the VFA Board.
Tim Curmi: Is it possible to get contact details of the members of the SRFR?
New Action: Julia will send out an email to confirm willingness to share contact details, and then distribute list.
Tim Curmi: Seeking image of a blackfish. Taylor can provide this.
Tom Camp: There is an issue with yank flathead that needs to be reviewed.
Brian Wright: Sand flathead appear to be increasing but the blue spot yanks are down in numbers.
New Action: The blue spot yank flathead to be a discussion point at the next Roundtable.
New Action: A meeting to be held prior to the next SRFR to discuss the blue spot yank flathead situation. Dallas D’Silva, Brian Wright, Ben Scullin to participate.
Meeting closed 12:30pm
Next Roundtable meeting #65 - 26th Nov 2021 @ 10:00am
Location/process pending Covid-19 update