SRFR Meeting #48 - 8 September 2017

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #48

Forum date: Friday September 8th 2017

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

Chair's Summary

Key discussion items from State-wide Roundtable meeting #48

  1. Presentation by Chris Hardman, Parks Victoria, of the partnerships of PV with the various user groups and the improvements being addressed with the recreational fishing community.
  2. Update of freshwater matters -Travis Dowling
  3. Presentation by Fishcare of current activities.
  4. Report of matters discussed at the World Recreational Fishing Conference in Canada.
  5. Report on "Target One Million" projects – Brian Mottram.
  6. Update of activities of Australian Trout Foundation - Terry George
  7. Update of activities of Native Fish Australia – Tim Curmi
  8. Transition to Victorian Fisheries Authority - Travis Dowling
  9. Current VRFish activities and projects – Michael Burgess

Chris Hardman – Executive Director, Melbourne Division, Parks Victoria

Chris Hardman spoke of the new Parks CEO Matt Jackson who has an agenda for modernisation. The aim of Parks Victoria is to achieve 4 million hectares of parks for Victoria.

"A healthy environment makes a difference to the physical and mental wellbeing of Victorians – healthy parks, healthy people."

Partnerships are being developed with the education and health sectors. Parks are working with volunteer programs, marketing campaigns, and youth and underrepresented groups to develop environmental connections.

Another aim is to achieve where possible access for all people of all abilities.

Chris reported that The Alpine Parks Plan supports fishing and 4WD access.

River Red Gums - The wording of the River Red Gum Parks Draft Management Plan is to be reviewed regarding campfires and boat access. High conservation values and indigenous rights must be considered.

Travis Dowling – CEO VFA – Freshwater Update

Travis reported –

  • The Perch Search is about to happen again to obtain suitable breeding stock of estuary perch.
  • The VFA is aiming to mandate a 30cm opening for opera house nets and the withdrawal of current opera house nets and replacement with a safer alternative.
  • The Rocklands Reservoir risk assessment is expected to be completed in the next week, and will then seek translocation approval for recreational fish stocking opportunities.

Sarah van Stokrom – Statewide Co-ordinator - FishCare

FishCare have been busy with participation in a number of projects involving the promotion of fishing with:

  • Building partnerships
  • Helping with the VFA Vic Fish Kids events
  • The Hooked on Portland and Hooked on Lakes events
  • The Education Centre
  • Schools
  • Parks Victoria
  • YMCA
  • The Creative Anglers program is in its second year of funding
  • Recruiting younger volunteers
  • FishCare currently has approximately 70 volunteers in Victoria.

Dallas D'Silva, Robert Loats & Mike Burgess – Report on WRFC

A review was provided of Dallas, Rob and Mike's attendance at the World Recreational Fishing Conference held in Canada in July. They agreed that it was a valuable and worthwhile experience.

The next conference will be held in the Netherlands in 2019.

Brian Mottram – Manager, Recreational Fishing Improvements VFA

  • The VFA and Target One Million infographics were presented showing how the VFA connects with anglers and the general public, and how the VFA is meeting the Target One Million election commitments.
  • Brian gave an explanation of the proposed Angler Diary App. The Recreational Fishing survey is to be sent out to anglers registered on the RFL database. Increasing fish stocking to five million is expected to be achieved this season, with a proposed one million + salmonids and four million natives.
  • The Target One Million team have been and will continue to be very active with engagement and events across the state.
  • There is a possibility of purchasing Macquarie perch from the NFA for stocking. Tim Curmi to advise of potential numbers, etc.
  • The VFA stand at the 2017 4X4 Show was very well attended by anglers seeking information and advice.
  • The Women and Fishing Survey has been completed with 1389 responses. The information received will be used to find ways to help females to become involved in fishing.
  • The 2018 VFA calendar is on the way following the popularity of the 2017 version.
  • Three VFA mascots have been purchased in the form of a snapper, a Murray cod and a rainbow trout. These will be used at community fishing events, and particularly kids events.
  • The Vic Fish Kids promotion has started, with 6 events to be held over the next 2 months. Rex Hunt is the ambassador for these events which will take place across Victoria to encourage juniors to become involved in fishing.
  • The Goulburn and the Ballarat Fishing Festivals were successfully held on the 2nd of September with record crowds of approx 1800 attending the two events.
  • Applications for Large RFL Grants for 2017 have been announced, but Small Grants are still open. The new round of RFL Large Grants will open in October 2017.

Terry George – President, Australian Trout Foundation

  • Terry spoke of the Talk Wild Trout Conference that is coming up on the 11th of November.
  • The Scotty Jordan incubator trials have been completed with a large number of volunteers assisting. 1000 eggs go into each incubator. All eggs are DNA tested so that their parentage is known. The incubators are wired and placed under rocks in the predetermined stream locations. The fry can swim out from the incubators after about 3 weeks. Inspection of the incubators following hatching showed varied hatch rates with King River approx. 96%, Jamieson approx. 75% and Traralgon approx. 98%.
  • Habitat projects will be undertaken at Jamieson on 23/24 September working with the Buckland CMA and the North East CMA.
  • Handicapped access needs to be investigated in places like the Buckland.

Tim Curmi – President, Native Fish Australia (Vic)

Brook trout

Many current reports of Brook trout in the Rubicon River again. Tim reported that this may be damaging to ecology of the river.

Aquaponics displays

In partnership with the City of Whittlesea coordinating and facilitating a number of small aquaponic units. Have been set up at the Mill Park library and soon for a number of primary schools. Units stocked with Southern pygmy perch & will facilitate much learning.

Guest speakers

Two interesting talks at recent general meetings:

  • Carp herpes virus
  • Murray Darling Basin Authority

Endangered Fish management/recovery plan

There is a need for management plan covering the following concerns –

  • When will Expedition Pass Res be opened as a Macquarie perch fishery?
  • What is the plan for the opening of some sort of a fishery for Trout cod in the Ovens River/Middle Goulburn River?
  • What is happening with the Trout cod in Lakes Sambell & Kerford?
  • What are the future stocking plans for endangered fish?

Hatchery Update

Our hatchery is ready to go. Have all required permits and most of equipment we need for the fast approaching Macquarie perch breeding season. Need a good biological/dissecting microscope. Negotiating some grow out ponds

Metro Stocking

No meeting to date - has been no progress for some. Was discussed at last round table.

Stream Classification

Continue to have inquiries regarding Stream classification. Need clear pathway and timelines for this important management tool.

Small Grant

Small primary school (St Bernadette's Primary School) denied grant that had been successful previously. Was to educate responsible future recreational anglers.

Travis Dowling – CEO VFA – VFA transition

  • Travis spoke on the expected advancements with the movement from FV to the VFA.
  • 10 years ago FV had a lot of working groups with little scope for achieving action. This should change under the VFA with changes with things like stocking processes and numbers and the introduction of new Regs.
  • Over past years Fisheries had a budget embedded in Departmental structures. This year the VFA budget will be reported directly to Parliament.
  • Still to come is a proposed shopfront office for the VFA allowing easier access for the public. Work is hoped to commence in the next few months at 1 Spring Street.

Michael Burgess – CEO VRFish , Reported the following

  • Since the last Rountable meeting, VRFish has submitted responses for trout (minimum size, trophy waters, removal of closed season for Hopkins and Merri), Murray Cod Fishery Notice, Trout Cod Fishery Notice, Rock Lobster commercial industry proposals, Draft Rays Fishery Notice, Draft Pipi Fishery Notice, Draft Wimmera-Mallee Water Resource Plan, Parliamentary Inquiry into e-water, Draft National Macquarie Perch Recovery Plan and support for Rye Boat Ramp.
  • VRFish will still pursue closed season to be removed from Emu Creek and Moyne River.
  • VRFish conducted its first random sample survey with RFL holders to consult on the draft Rays Notice. The survey found that 32% were not aware it was already a legal requirement to return unwanted catch unharmed, 44% said they were unconfident or unsure how to handle a ray for release, 5.6% of respondents specifically targeted rays in the last 12 months and 4.3% of respondents said they would be 'likely' to retain a ray for consumption. Based on the findings VRFish position is to support an educative approach that includes signage, code of conduct and increased awareness or and compliance of existing regulations.
  • Ongoing areas of consultation and work included the Draft Murray River Redgum Management Plan, Remaking of the Fisheries (Fees, Royalties and Levies) Regulations, Dartmouth Pondage Advisory Group, Ports and Marine Amendment Bill, Offshore Windfarm Project, CarbonNet Marine Seismic Survey, Freshwater Fisheries Management Plan Committtee, VicStock meetings, review of the Murray-Darling Basin Native Fish plan and marine habitat priorities.
  • Issues being actively worked on and pursued include enclosed yabby traps, boating infrastructure reform, Curdies River fish stranding and kill, Rubicon Hydro proposal, Yarra River canoeing/kayak boat ramps, access on the Maribyrnong River, misinformation about the National Carp Action Plan, large female gummy sharks and prioritisation of new stocking waters.
  • VRFish has concerns with the Draft River Redgum Management Plan and issued a media release which was picked up by media outlets and stimulated lots of community discussion and attention to the plan. Parks Victoria will be running public drop-in sessions in the week after next.
  • VRFish met with Parks Victoria to outline its concerns with the wording in the document and potential for these strategies to impact on fishers continuing to enjoy dispersed camping, campfires, boating and access. It was a productive meeting with the clarification needed for VRFish to begin drafting its submission.
  • An RFL priorities and satisfaction survey will be released next Tuesday. VRFish reminded all members about National Gone Fishing Day and that an online Google map had been created with all the event happening across Victoria.
  • VRFish ran a 'give Murray Cod a rest' campaign outlining tips for fishers during the closed season via its e-news, social media and web. It received good reach and engagement and was picked up by Fishing World.
  • VRFish attended the Native Fish Forum in Canberra. Outcomes were that flows need to consider a fish life history approach, a coordination of flows across the basin for better outcomes at a larger spatial scale and engagement with recreational fishers is essential. All the presentations are available here

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable #48

Chair: Merv McGuire

Secretariat: Julie Morgan

Summary dated: 06/10/2017