SRFR Meeting #55 - 28 June 2019

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #55

Forum date: Friday 28th June 2019

Location: Mercure Treasury, 13 Spring Street, Melbourne 3000

Chair's Summary

OUTSTANDING/ONGOING ACTIONS (from previous meetings)


Request for 6 monthly report back on PPB health and environmental Yarra River flows. (ARI leading plan)

Discussion/outcome: ongoing

Anthony Forster and Paul Hamer

Involve the broader fishing community in the 2018 Fisheries Regulations Review. The Policy group to provide a timeline for the review (Dallas D’Silva). Allow adequate time for input from the fishing community. Provide for consultation with key stakeholders prior to release to the public. (Consultants contracted to write document to go out for public comment)

Discussion/outcome: ongoing

Dallas D’Silva

The Department of Transport be requested to attend the next Roundtable meeting to present on Better Boating Victoria.Craig Ingram

Dallas to follow up the ATF submission relating to Large and Small Grants.

Dallas D’Silva

VFA provide an update at the next roundtable meeting (and as an ongoing action at future roundtables if applicable) of the timing of an independent review of the RFL on behalf of recreational fishers.

Dallas D’Silva

NEW ACTIONS – Arising from Meeting #54 - 28 June 2019

Provide feedback on RFL ToR to Julia Menzies by 5 July. Julia to send responses to Travis and Dallas.

The VFA Board is to be invited to the next SRFR meeting.Julia Menzies

Kris Leckie  -  VRFish

Kris Leckie is filling in whilst Mike Burgess is on leave.

The VRFish membership structure has changed, moving to a new era of inclusiveness. 32 angling clubs have recently signed up to VRFish.

Consultation has been had between VRFish and:

  • Parks Victoria – Crown land issues at Lake Tyers and the code of conduct around campfires
  • NCCMA – a new action plan is being developed around the Native Fish Recovery Plan
  • Victorian Environmental water Holder – E-water selloff, Reinvestment of funds and the Koondrook Weir fishway
  • NCCP – Research into carp control still ongoing
  • VFA – reef structures, the Gippsland Lakes survey thay will go out soon, Fisheries Regulation Review (VRFish submission has gone in), support for volumetric limit on yabbies, and endorsement of the open top yabby nets

Melbourne Water has been pushing for a closure to fishing in Darlingford Waters, Melton.

Working with DELWP to resolve access issues at Yellingbo Conservation Reserve prior to the final plan release.

Rec anglers have reported a perceived increase in commercial effort and ongoing compliance issues at Corner Inlet.


  • Go Fish Nagambie resulted in limited “hub” engagement with anglers.
  • The location at the BIA Boat Show with the VFA and Marine Safety Victoria was excellent.

VRFish have stepped up their online communication with social media skyrocketing.

Terry George - ATF

2019-2024 will be a critical period for the Victorian wild trout fishery.  Are looking at developing a 5 year strategic plan, with a workshop to be held in early October.

Jordan Scotty incubators will be loaded on Monday 15 July and are expected to go into the King, Jamieson, Buckland tributaries, Macalister and Upper Dargo rivers. DNA testing for last years stocking is still under way, with no results as yet.

Habitat work:

An additional 84 tonnes of boulders have gone into the Buckland. Access tracks are being prepared. The Trees for Trout event attracted 27 volunteers.

500 trees were planted by 37 volunteers along the Macalister on 1st June. Some landowners have allowed river access.

A Large Grant application has been submitted to the VFA for work on the Morass and Livingston Creeks.

The Traralgon Fish Habitat Workshop will be held on Saturday 13 July at the WGCMA Office in Traralgon in collaboration with ATF, NFA, VFA, WGCMA, DELWP, VFFH&FR and recreational anglers.

Travis Dowling – VFA CEO – Election Commitments and RFL Update

All RFL committee members will be listed on the VFA web site.

Ernst and Young have been engaged to do the upcoming recreational fishing survey.

The Goulburn River below Eildon will be stocked again this year with 7 tonnes of big trout in the week prior to trout opening. Last year’s stocking brought an estimated extra $1 million to local business.

Hooked on Portland will take place again in January 2020.

Toolondo is fishing well for both trout and redfin, however there is no water destined for the lake unless there is significant rainfall.

Achievements through 2018/19 have included:

  • New facilities eg jetties etc, throughout the State
  • Record stocking
  • Planned fish stocking to increase to 10 million per year by 2022
  • New fisheries opened
  • Vic Fish Kids events
  • Multi cultural days
  • Development of the Vic Fish app
  • Planning for the new Native Fish Hatchery in the Shepparton region
  • Strong social media with Facebook and Instagram
  • WIRF (Women in Rec Fishing) will be a part of the AFTA event on the Gold Coast again this year

Target One Million – Phase 2 has an allocated budget of $35 million, including expenditure on:

  • New on-water access is being opened at several reservoirs like Tullaroop
  • Work is being done to open up new access to reservoirs and river frontages held under Crown Land grazing licences
  • 200 on-grown Murray cod have gone into Barkers Creek
  • Buyout of commercial netting licences in the Gippsland Lakes
  • Creation of new fish cleaning tables, platforms and new fish habitat around Port Phillip Bay
  • Support of tourism at important regional fishing destinations

Note that Crown Land is mapped on the DELWP website.

Native Fish Hatchery – 8 landholders have been contacted, meeting the criteria of river frontage, underground water and clay soil. It is planned to include visitor access that doesn’t impact on hatchery production.

Tim Curmi - NFA

Macquarie Perch hatchery

  • Continue to grow Macquarie perch fingerling onto artificial diet – now only fed on pellets.  Fish are growing well.
  • Continue to negotiate new hatchery with interest from La Trobe University
  • Some interest from local state politician
  • Meeting with Melbourne Polytechnic to discuss working together.

Southern Pygmy Perch breeding program

  • Continue to collect broodstock to ensure genetic robustness & suitability of offspring to be released back into the wild at various sites
  • Recent TEP approval to collect broodstock from population in Upper King River valley to be added to broodstock.
  • Should have good numbers of offspring early next year

Habitat/Tree planting

  • Have scheduled tree planting on Hughes creek for 7th June

North East Link

  • Have recently written voicing a number of concerns with the planned works
    • Macquarie perch population in the Yarra River
    • Lack of any aquatic surveys across affected areas
    • The covering of major sections of two local creeks

Native Fish Report Cards

  • Concerns with defunding by VFA of this important project

Traralgon Habitat Workshop

  • Again coordinated by the ATF
  • Scheduled for 13th July

National Carp Control Plan

  • Attended a two day workshop in Canberra
  • Approx 50 attendees but no one from Vic Gov.
  • Mainly research findings on effects of the release of the virus
  • Most attendees had concerns with the release of the virus
  • NCCP only concerned with the release of the virus not other potential control methods or complementary actions

Watercraft on lakes

  • Hearing concerns from two separate water authorities around lack of any consultation

Talks to Angling clubs / Landcare

  • Have been lined up for 3 separate talks in July
  • Will talk around current issues in recreational fishing and NFA (Vic) activities

EPBC listing of Southern Pygmy Perch

  • Have been asked for feedback on the proposed listing of Southern Pygmy Perch (Nannoperca australis)
  • Is difficult due to fragmented populations

Snobs Creek Water Quality

  • Have heard reports of extremely bad water quality in the creek on a number of occasions
  • Is the monitoring as promised occurring?
  • Are there any public results as a consequence of this monitoring?

Magnificent 6 Forum

  • Attended 2 day workshop on the future of 6 small bodied Murray Darling Basin native fish
  • Species included are Flathead Galaxias, Murray Hardyhead, Olice Perchlet, Purple Spotted Gudgeon and Southern Pygmy Perch
  • Coordinated by Tri State NRM Regional Alliance

Graeme Creed

  • Saddened by his untimely death recently
  • Graeme made a huge contribution to native fish and recreational angling over more than 40 years
  • Foundation member of Native Fish Australia & Native Fish Australia (Vic)
  • Graeme had an active role in the formation of VRFish and was on the board for many years
  • Will be honoured as the first life member of NFA (Vic)
  • Will be further honoured by renaming the Native Fish Challenge as the Graeme Creed Native Fish Challenge

Boat Show Stand

  • Thank you to the VFA for providing some space within their stand at the recent boat show

Sarah van Stokrom – FishCare

Over 2018/19 Fishcare have covered 336 events with 8000 participants and 2200 volunteer hours.

Fishcare projects have included:

  • PPB Little Warriors school program on litter (closing)
  • Invading Our Bays – a new program on invasive species
  • A Small Grant has been applied for to work on crabs
  • University students have been practical placements with Fishcare
  • Creating Sustainable Anglers (closing)
  • Go Fish Nagambie – kids group
  • Supported Womens Day with the Didyabringarodalong Angling Club
  • Stategic planning is under way to develop a 5-10 year plan

Darlingsford Lakes have had line boxes and signage installed. Melbourne Water have indicated that they want fishing stopped at the lake.

Fishing clinics are running well. There isa need to develop a best practice of what to do with fish once caught.

Fishcare aim to have a similar following to Auskick and Milo Cricket.

Brian Wright – Port Phillip Bay Flathead Catches

Brian provided a recreational anglers view of the numbers of flathead being caught in Port Phillip Bay.  Catch numbers appear to be down and Brian proposed a review of bag and size limits.

Marc Ainsworth - Communications Manager, VFA

77 VFA Facebook posts were made during May 2019. Of those the highest reach was for one showing a Murray cod that had eaten a whole carp – 89,403 reach. The top 3 posts all related to Murray cod. Total reach for May was 1,500,000.

Instagram had 62 posts with a total combined reach for May of 321,383.

Hui Ho  – Manager – Freshwater Fisheries

  • Opera house ban coming up
    • Thank the support provided by the wider community (VRFIsh, FutureFish, NFA, DELWP, MW, Animals Australia, Australian PC.)
    • Notice gazetted 27th June - 1st July 2019
    • Updated website FAQs now available
  • Urban Waters Program
    • Casey Fields and Ferntree Quarry
    • Working on remainder (Navan, Roxburgh, Lilydale, Rowville, Melton)
  • Goulburn Weir Irrigation Channel Work - GMW
    • Nagambie Lakes – Goulburn Weir – Irrigation network
    • East Goulburn Main Irrigation Channel
    • 300 – 182 MC (4 – 100cm) & 115 GP (25 – 60 cm). Fish relocated to Snobs, urbans waters program and nearby waterways
    • GMW, GBCMA, Nathalia and Tatong Angling club, schools in the district
  • Wild trout strategy
    • Strategic plan for assist wild trout
    • Working with ATF, VRFIsh, stakeholders
  • Cheetah trout
    • New unique species (brook male x female rainbows) to be stocked at Purrumbete.
  • Conferences
    • TWT – 23rd November Mansfield
      • DRAFT attendee list
      • Wild trout fisheries (Greg French)
      • Pass it on (Hilary Hutcheson)
      • Exploring fishing destinations (Martin Auldist) – all attendees will receive the AFN fishing atlas book
      • European nymphing (Chris Bassano)
      • Habitat summary (Renae Ayres)
      • Health cards (Dr Brett Ingram)
      • Scotty Jordan Incubators (JD)
    • Codference – 8th Dec Shepparton
      • Sat 7th is the VicFishKids
      • DRAFT attendee list
        • Rob Paxevanos on Murray cod
        • New methods for yellas – Jacko Davis
        • Targeting cod with swimbaits – John Cahill
        • Lake Eildon Australias best cod fishery – Taylor
        • Menindee fish kill from Lee Baumgartner
  • Native Fish Report Card
    • 3rd year, 10 key key rivers for our 9 most targeted species
    • Working with DELWP for an RFL for cofounding agreement for future monitoring
  • New economics study for rec fishing and boating
    • Tender completed with BBV to assess the social and economic study of fishing and boating
    • Previous study is 5 years old, need up-to-date information to support policy, management planning in these respective areas
    • Indirect and direct value, job (FTEs) and recreational fishing participation
  • New Native Fish Hatchery
    • Anthony is engaging with local landholders on appropriate sites
    • 4 sites ~ 100 ha to review
  • Maribyrnong River Native Fish Revival
    • DRAFT report on the rec users study
    • Sites of interest to rec fishers with minimal risks to other users
    • About to engage consultant for the habitat installation plan and historical review
    • Discuss the MOU agreement with VicRoads to repurpose timber for habitat (state-wide implications)

Ian Parks – 13FISH & Compliance Update

Education and Enforcement overview.

Education focuses on stewardship and preventing non-compliance.


  • Sustainable & responsible fishing (ethical fishing)

Prevention of Non-compliance

  • Education about fishing rules
  • Educating about consequences
  • Encourage 13FISH reporting

Delivered through

  • School education program at the Marine & Freshwater Discovery Centre
  • Outreach programs at events
  • Fisheries Officers while conducting inspection

2018/19 has seen 490 stewardship and prevention events with 43,457 participants.

Toby Jeavons – Rec Tagging Program

The rock lobster tagging program was introduced in 2017 to quantify the annual harvest. It is a 3 year trial with mandatory tagging. Tag usage must be reported recording the location, date and carapace length.7370 lobsters were caught in the first season, evenly spread between east and west.

The Victorian trial has been acclaimed nationally and by New Zealand. Recreational fisher support and compliance has been of a high standard.

Brian Mottram – Fish Production & Stocking Progress Report

Stocking for the 2018/19 season (1/4>31/3) reached a total of 6.9 million fish – 5.8m native and 1.1m salmonids. Chinook salmon, brown trout an d rainbow trout have been bred at snobs creek.

Changes to staffing have included Steve Vidler (Program Manager) leaving, still to be replaced, Jonathon Pini (Technical Officer) left and has been replaces by Rhiannon Atkinson.

Recent and upcoming events are:

  • Willow Lake
  • Go Fish Nagambie
  • VFK Williamstown multicultural event
  • Cheetah trout into Lake Purrumbete
  • Snobs Creek Hatchery open days
  • AFTA – Gold Coast – EOIs will be called for from 8 July
  • Goulburn Fishing Festival
  • Ballarat Fishing Festival
  • Big Trout Stocking

Dallas D’Silva – Fisheries Regulation Review

The VFA Strategic Plan for the next 5 years is now available.

The current Fisheries Regulations will expire in Feb 2020. The document with the proposed regulation changes will be out for 60 days public review and feedback in August 2019.

The draft RFL review Terms of Reference have been supplied to SRFR members for review and feedback.

The Minister has agreed to this review as requested by VRFish and supported by the SRFR. SRFR members were given 2 weeks to comment on the draft ToRs. The VFA will contract a consultant and the Round table will play an important role in providing input on behalf of recreational fishers. The aim is to have a final report to the Minister by December this year.

Paul Hamer is working with DELWP on $2.5m reef development.

The VFA is working with Parks Vic and DELWP to research the current situation with spider crabs in PPB.

NEW ACTION: The VFA Board is to be invited to the next SRFR meeting. JM

NEW ACTION: Provide feedback on RFL ToR to Julia Menzies by 5 July. Julia to send responses to Travis and Dallas. All

Meeting closed 2:50pm

Next Roundtable meeting:

Friday 13th September 2019 at 10:00am

Karstens Conference Rooms 123 Queen Street Melbourne.