SRFR Meeting #47 - 2 June 2017

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #47

Forum date: Friday June 2nd 2017

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

Chair's Summary

Key discussion items from State-wide Roundtable meeting #47

  1. Update of the establishment of the Victorian Fishing Authority – Minister Jaala Pulford and Sally Fensling
  2. Update of Target $1M -Travis Dowling
  3. Update of inland fisheries activities – Anthony Forster
  4. National Carp Control Program – Craig Ingram
  5. "Port Phillip Bay shellfish reef recovery project"- Ross Winstanley
  6. Proposal for inland spear fishing opportunities – Ric Fallu
  7. Current VRFish activities and projects – Michael Burgess
  8. Report on "Target One Million" projects – Brian Mottram
  9. Update of activities of Australian Trout Foundation - Terry George
  10. Update of activities of Native Fish Australia – Tim Curmi
  11. Fisheries communications update – Lauren Hall

1. Update of the establishment of the Victorian Fishing Authority

Minister Jaala Pulford

Minister Pulford attended with her senior Fisheries advisor Steve Gartland and discussed the new Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) that will commence on 1 July 2017.

The new VFA will drive jobs growth and export in Victoria's commercial fishing and aquaculture sectors. Budget and staff to transfer across. Workforce of approximately 161 staff with 5 staff to stay with DEDJTR. We have a budget of 33 million for VFA and to be an exciting new chapter for Fisheries Victoria/Victorian Fisheries Authority.

Sally Fensling – Executive Director, Strategic Projects DEDJTR

  • Sally gave an overview of the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) and provided an update on what needs to be done between now and then.
  • Gail Owen will Chair the new Authority and Board members include Dr Bernadette Northeast (Deputy Chair), Christopher Rose, Christine Cussen, David Shirer, Yorick Piper, Graeme Dear and Rebecca Edwards.
  • Collectively, these eight directors bring knowledge and experience to carry out the VFA's objectives and function.
  • Applications for the VFA CEO are currently being considered.

2. Travis Dowling , ED Fisheries Victoria– Target One Million

Travis gave an overview of Fisheries Victoria Recreational Fishing Activities including TOM commitments.

  • Fisheries Victoria social media has 32,000 followers on Facebook and 3,000 followers on Instagram.
  • Buyback of commercial netting and licenses went really well with 33 of 43 licences removed. All remaining fishers will be able to continue to fish using current methods (both net and non-net), with the exception being the prohibition of netting in Corio Bay in 2018.
  • On 1 April 2022 the fishery will transition to a non-net fishery. The 8 license holders remaining in the bay at that time will be restricted to using non-net gear types and methods. The fishery will be established as a quota-managed long-line snapper fishery, with each eligible fisher allocated quota units equal to 11 tonnes of snapper on 1 April 2022. Licence holders will be able to continue to fish with other non-net methods listed in the regulations.
  • In addition, dive fisheries, including the scallop, abalone and sea urchin fisheries, will continue to operate in Port Phillip Bay.
  • Chinese multi-cultural forum went well. Several speakers covered a range of topics including hatchery fish production, places to fish in Victoria, rock safety and protecting our fish stocks.
  • We are currently delivering trout with the team at Snobs Creek Hatchery starting early in the morning to get out to all of Victoria. Increasing fish stocking is a key commitment as we grow towards 5 million fish this season. It is worth remembering in 2007 stocked 500,000 of all species and we are now stocking 5 times more.
  • Murray Codference a was a huge success and will do it again later this year. Goulburn Fishing Festival to be at Ballarat and Eildon. Snobs Creek 70th Anniversary to be celebrated on Sunday, 2 July and Vic Fish for kids events will be run to engage children and families and encourage them to take up recreational fishing.
  • Barramundi fishery at Hazelwood has provided a lot of excitement and interest over the last 6 months. We do have challenges with the changes in water temperature at the pondage. There is a strong population of barramundi in the upper warm channel of Hazelwood Pondage. We have also observed cichlid baitfish in the channel on which the barra will feed. We're doing everything we can to keep our barra fishery going.
  • Rock lobster tagging program commences on 1 July 2017. All recreational fishers will be required to tag the rock lobster they catch and keep as part of a three year trial. Currently, there is a lack of information on how many rock lobsters are harvested by the recreational sector. The tagging program will collect information on the numbers caught recreationally by using a number of tags used to represent the number of rock lobsters caught.
  • Freshwater Fisheries Management Plan being implemented by integrating fish, water and land management.

3. Anthony Forster – Manager, Freshwater Fisheries FV

  • Anthony discussed the Freshwater Fisheries Management Plan. The plan will be a state-wide, high level plan that focuses on integrating fish, water and land management. It will consider the management of 14 key recreational fish species (12 finfish and 2 crustaceans) in rivers and impoundments.
  • The Hazelwood barramundi fishery has been a great success attracting more than 5,000 new visitors to the Pondage and returning more than $700,000 to the local community over a 4 month period.
  • Since the closure of the power plant, we have been closely monitoring the fishery and expect barramundi to migrate into the warmer outflow channel of Hazelwood over the next few weeks. This area will support the barra throughout winter thanks to warm groundwater flowing in at 40°C.

4. Craig Ingram – TOM Fisheries Victoria

Craig Ingram discussed the National Carp Control Plan which aims to release the carp herpes virus to control this noxious species in our waterways.

5. Ross Winstanley – Fishing Journalist/Specialist, Fishing Research

Ross gave a presentation on the "Port Phillip Bay shellfish reef recovery project" that he will be presenting at The World Recreational Fishing Conference at Canada.

He advised he collaborated with AP&YA, Fisheries Victoria, TNC, University of Melbourne, Port Phillip Bay project volunteers and Industry.

Ross summarized the project as follows -

  • Funding total to date $470,000, including -
    AP&YAC $40,000
    Rec Fishing Licence trust fund grants $157,000
    Victorian Government $120,000
    The Nature Conservancy $150,000
  • TNC – shellfish reefs – most threatened marine habitats – globally 85% of oyster reefs completely lost, others functionally extinct
  • Benefits – nutrient conversion, turbidity, stability, benthos, seagrass, Macro-algae, fish
  • WA: 400m2 reef installed 2017 at Oyster Harbour, Albany

The project is Angler-inspired shellfish reef restoration work in Australia.

6. Ric Fallu – Victorian Spear Fishing Commission

Ric discussed his passion of Spear fishing. He is proposing an opportunity in one inland water where spearfishing be allowed. Recreational spearfishing is another method of recreational fishing. Spearfishing is currently permitted in some marine waters only. Ric shared his views that spearfishing has a perception of risks.

Ric wants to work with community to address that perception and requested Roundtable support.

7. Michael Burgess – CEO VRFish

Mike discussed VRFish re-branding and will be investigating diversifying membership.

He also reported on the following-

  • Creating a new website and content strategy. VRFish to be moving offices from Williamstown to Geelong.
  • Gone Fishing Day will be 15th of October and encourages all Victorians to be involved out on the water, wet a line and be a part of the biggest event on Australia's recreational fishing calendar.
  • We are continuing to advocate for the banning the Opera House nets in all waters.
  • Planning to do survey recreational fishers to identify priorities for future RFL investment.
  • The fishing lines magazine will be out shortly and theme is "Fishers investing in the future of fishing".
  • We have supported GMW proposed Lake Eppalock facilities rejuvenation. Engaging in oil and gas and seismic survey consultation.
  • Waiting on release of Draft Murray River Redgum Management Plan. Scoping more metropolitan waters that could be potentially stocked and more launching points.
  • Boat ramp capacity and infrastructure arguably the major issue with recreational fishers.
  • Support from Barwon Water for access improvements to 5 reservoirs. Progressing MOU with Ozfish Unlimited and preparing a co-funding proposal for a fish habitat officer.
  • National Fish Habitat Strategy out for comment soon.
  • Encourage all to view the recommendations from the Productivity Commission Inquiry.
  • Liaising with Project Banjo Action Group on the treatment of rays and fisher code of conduct. Litter continues to be an issue and will be developing a campaign.
  • Recreational fishers have raised concerns around pair-trawling and quota increases in the Small Pelagic Fishery.

8. Brian Mottram – TOM Fisheries Victoria

  • Brian gave an update on our engagement and how we use a variety of methods to get in touch with a broad range of recreational fishing stakeholders. Methods include social media (facebook, instagram, snapchat and soon twitter), website, face to face meetings, conferences, presentations to angling clubs, written publications, etc.
  • Brian also advised that the Snobs Creek team have had a busy year of stocking fish with over 3.9 million fish stocked for the 2016 winter and 2016/17 summer. The fish stockings that are currently underway will count towards our target of 5 million fish for this current fish stocking season (2017 winter and 2017/18 summer). The team at Snobs Creek are currently stripping salmonid fish for next seasons fish stockings. The native fish are being monitored and conditioned for spawning's in the Spring.
  • Brian then introduced Belinda Yim, new Manager of Events and Engagement. Belinda discussed upcoming events being:
      70th Anniversary Snobs Creek Hatchery
      Eildon/Ballarat Fishing Festivals
      Gone Fishing Day
      Murray Cod/Trout Conferences
      Portland festival proposed for 2018
  • Craig Ingram gave an overview of the Port Phillip Catch over time – all fishers, all species and non-bait species – 1 April 2009 – 30 March 2017.

9. Terry George – President, Australian Trout Foundation

Terry gave a update of current activities and projects being undertaken by ATF.

Jordan Scotty Incubators

  • Jamieson River & Stony & Traralgon Creeks – locations have been electro- surveyed
  • Traralgon Creek site selected by John Douglas & Terry George; Stony Creek visit on 6th June and Jamieson River soon after.
  • Incubators arrived yesterday.
  • Applying to DELWP – CMA's for works on water permits
  • Applying for TEP approvals


  • Fisheries will provide eyed ova at Snobs Creek; DNA of parents will be data recorded – early-mid July.
  • Fisheries, angling clubs and ATF volunteers will load incubators at Snobs Creek.
  • Fisheries will deliver incubators to relevant sites and same groups will install them under supervision.
  • Same groups will monitor the incubators until hatching is complete when Fisheries Scientists will record hatch rates. Subsequent electro surveys will monitor survival rates.


  • The major risks to our wild trout fisheries is the warming temperatures and habitat degradation?
  • What are we doing about it? CMA's, ARI (DELWP) and some angling clubs and landcare groups are going a great job – albeit with limited resources.

Sourcing Funds

The meeting was advised by DR Amber Clarke from DELWP that they had considerable funding available for Riparian Habitat restoration projects (including some for in-stream habitat.

10. Tim Curmi – President, Native Fish Australia (VIC)

Tim gave an update of current activities and projects being undertaken by Native Fish Australia.

  • Habitat
  • Boat show will have a live fish display and focus on fly fishing and competition.
  • Stocking of Macca's , Dartmouth to Ovens
  • Hatchery nearly up and running at Latrobe Bundoora to breed Macca's.
  • Public meeting organised on Carp Virus on 2 August for NFA.
  • Stream classifications on media

11. Lauren Hall – Project Officer, Fisheries Vic

Lauren Hall introduced herself as a new starter and working with Marc Ainsworth gave a Fisheries Communications update. Lauren explained her role in preparing and delivering media across Fisheries.

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable #47

Chair: Merv McGuire 

Secretariat: Belinda Lorensini 

Summary dated: 27/06/2017