SRFR Meeting #54 - 29 March 2019

Statewide Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum #54

Forum date: Friday 29th March 2019

Location: 1 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

NEW ACTIONS – Arising from Meeting #53 – 9th December 2018


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

Craig Ingram and Anthony Forster  -  VFA - Election Commitments

  • The focus is on election commitments and a number of key actions are under way.
  • Phase out of the 10 commercial fishers in the Gippsland Lakes to provide a boost to local tourism and recreational fishing will be consistent with the Port Phillip Bay buyout. Packages should be offered 1 April 2020, with 1 April 2021 being the final exit date. Eel and bait fishers will remain.  VRFish are conducting a survey with fishers to determine what they want for the Gippsland Lakes into the future.
  • Options for new recreational fishing reefs in Port Phillip Bay are being looked at, with a workshop with anglers to be held at Queenscliff.
  • Work is being done to improve access for fishing and camping by opening up of river frontage covered by grazing licences.
  • Records have been broken with both Murray cod production and overall fish stocking for the 2018/19 season.
  • $200,000 will be invested to develop a recreational fishing tourism plan.
  • The new Fishing for All program to get more people fishing is under way with the Vic Fish Kids schedule for 2019 starting in May and continuing through to December.
  • The high standard of work achieved by Fishcare to encourage fisher participation was noted.
  • The competition for input into the design of number plates for recreational fishers closes 29 March. The prize for the winner is a free set of “fishing” number plates.
  • Better Boating Victoria is now with the Department of Transport not the VFA.

NEW ACTION: The Department of Transport be requested to attend the next Roundtable meeting to present on Better Boating Victoria.

Mike Burgess – CEO VRFish

  • The RACV / BIA Rate Your Ramp survey program gives data to show users ratings of the design and implementation of boat ramp facilities.
  • There are many issues with boat ramps around the State.
  • A survey is being completed by recreational fishers on southern bluefin tuna from Apollo Bay to Portland. The Tuna Champions program aims to educate on respect of the fish, and options of keeping, tagging and releasing.
  • A VRFish policy calling for a review of the RFL will be presented to the Minister.
  • New “Steer Clear in the Rip” flyers have been produced. Further strategies to protect anglers will be developed.
  • Good data on eastern rock lobster has been received through the tagging of the recreational catch. The commercial catch limits should be reviewed to ensure ongoing stocks.
  • The habitat work done at the Steavenson River has been damaged when trampled by cattle. Landholders have agreed to fence the area in coming weeks.

Terry George - ATF

Terry presented an update on the sites that have been identified as needing habitat work where work is under way or ready to go. These include the Buckland River, Mitta Mitta River, Nariel Creek, Morass & Livingston Creeks, Delatite River, Rubicon River, Jamieson River and Goulburn River. The ATF, in consultation with stakeholders, will formulate a 5 year strategic plan for habitat restoration.

The 2018 Jordan Scotty incubators achieved an average of 92-98% hatch rate. 50 incubators were distributed in 2018 in the King River, Jamieson River, Traralgon Creek and Upper Dargo River.

The ATF / NFA Ovens River Challenge will take place on 6 & 7th April from the Myrtleford base. This is a free catch and release event to survey size and species of fish caught in the Ovens River.

Tim Curmi - NFA

Macquarie Perch hatchery

  • Are in the process of weaning Macquarie perch fingerling onto artificial diet – progressing very well with vast majority of fry eating pellets and frozen blood worm
  • Lease on hatchery at La Trobe University likely to finish later in the year – we are actively looking for a new home
  • Continue to battle with permit requirement especially ethics
  • Fyke netting with local school in Yarra River recently – caught Macquarie Perch, Common Galaxiids, Australian Smelt, Murray & Glass shrimp, Weather loach and many Platypus.  All successfully released.

Southern Pygmy Perch breeding program

Continues to progress well

  • Recently submitted TEP application to get further brood stock from a private dam in North East Victoria – this will increase genetic vigour of offspring
  • Receiving good interest from many stakeholders including NSW Fisheries and the GBCMA
  • Should have good numbers of offspring early next year

Native Fish Challenge 2019

  • 25 annual NFC held recently in the Murray River around Yarrawonga
  • Catch measure and release event with 4 clubs participating
  • Approximately 70 anglers participated and almost 300 fish recorded
  • Largest Murray cod caught by adult 95cm,Largest Murray cod caught by junior 90cm
  • Most fish caught appeared to be in very good condition

Ovens River Challenge

  • Inaugural ORC on this coming weekend
  • Is a combined Australian Trout Foundation /Native Fish Australia (Vic) event
  • Based in Myrtleford – encompasses Ovens River from Lake Mulwala to Harrietville & major tributaries
  • Catch measure and release event with approximately 40 anglers already registered
  • Data compiled on all fish caught will be shared with the VFA and other interested parties

Habitat/Tree planting

  • Have scheduled tree planting on Hughes creek for 30 June
  • Planning other plantings for Seven Creeks and possibly Yarra River

Discover Dandenong Creek Festival 11/4/19

  • Will have live fish display at festival
  • In partnership with Fishcare, will coordinate fishing with juniors

Seven Creeks

  • In Partnership with the GBCMA and GB water, large RFL grant application for fishing platform at Polly McQuinns weir
  • Large Redfin problem in Weir and downstream
  • Extremely low flows especially after Christmas.
  • Concerns for Native fish populations within creek.
  • Similar concerns in other waterways – Hughes, King Parrot & Holland Creek
  • Recent studies indicate fish are doing OK and managing to hang on.

Metropolitan Stocking

  • Great to see stocking of native fish finally occurring after more than 20 years of advocating
  • Hope it continues to expand into many other suitable waters in metropolitan Melbourne

Macquarie Perch recovery plan

  • The national recovery plan has finally been released
  • Is a great document that lays framework for species recovery
  • Hope the plan is adopted and funded by all stakeholder agencies

Sarah van Stokrom – FishCare

  • A Geelong facilitator has now been employed by FishCare.
  • A new program “What’s Under The Water” is being developed for kids to educate them on the danger caused to waterways and marine life by litter.
  • FishCare’s Fishing App is due to be finished by June.
  • FishCare are playing a key support role in the VIC FISH Kids events.
  • Roundtable members expressed their appreciation for the great work being done by FishCare.

Bob Dimmack - Australian Federation of Course Anglers Association

Dallas D’Silva presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Bob for his many years of service to recreational fishing and to coarse angling.

Bob spoke on his history with coarse angling and his relationship with the VFA.

Anthony Forster – Manager Freshwater Fisheries

Target One Million Initiatives:

  • Establish a new hatchery near Shepparton
    • The groundwater and site selection study are under way
    • Design workshop with experts in hatchery construction scheduled for late April
  • Bendigo special Vic Fish Stock meeting agreement to stock:
    • Proposed species and quantities were agreed for Malmsbury, Lauriston, Coliban, Barkers Creek, Hepburn Lagoon, Tullaroop and Bellfield
  • Developing urban waters
    • Karkarook Lake has been stocked with natives and Casey Fields will be done on 6 April
    • 5 lakes are are awaiting TEP assessment
    • TEP support has been given for Ferntree Quarry Reserve, Maribyrnong River, Pakenham, and Macleod’s Waterhole , Geelong
    • 5 other lakes are under investigation
  • Fish salvage operations
    • Fish rescues have taken place from King Lake Rutherglen into Lake Moodemere and Ovens River, from Rawson Crater Lake into Casey Fields Lake, and retrieval of 1.5 tonne of carp from the Mitchell River carp kill
  • Prawn stocking – Lake Tyers
    • Risk assessment has been completed
    • A hatchery provider has been sourced in NSW
    • Brood stock has been collected
    • There has been rigorous disease testing / screening
    • 3 million post larvae eastern king prawns are expected to be available in mid April
  • Maribyrnong River native fish revival
    • Fish population survey completed
    • Fish habitat mapping completed
    • 130,000 estuary perch have been stocked
    • Woody fish habitat installation program is being developed
  • Lake Eildon fish population survey
    • 350+ Murray cod have been caught and 100 tagged
    • 50+ golden perch have been caught and tagged
    • A research report is being prepared
  • Irrigation channels fish salvage
    • The VFA and GMW will work in collaboration to access 150 km of irrigation channels
    • Local angling clubs will be involved
    • Fish collected will be used in local and urban waters stocking plans
  • Opera house yabby net state wide collection
    • About 9000 nets have so far been collected and are stored at Snobs Creek
    • All nets expected to be collected by 5 April.

Fish Production and Stocking Report

  • There has been a record production of 850,000+ Murray Cod for the 2018/19 season. Good summer conditions have resulted in early spawning, with the warmth keeping a good supply of plankton
  • Rocklands is in it’s second year of stocking, receiving over 1 million natives over the 2 years
  • Eildon has had 750,000 Murray cod stocked for the 2018/19 season
  • Estuary perch have been stocked in 12 waters throughout Victoria
  • Vic Fish Stock meetings will develop a 4 year stocking strategy to meet the 10 million target for 2022

Snobs Creek Advisory Board

A meeting of the advisory Board was held on Wednesday 27 March. The results of a study to compare stock production costs of the Snobs Creek Hatchery and the private sector were presented showing positive results for the costs required to produce fish stock at Snobs Creek.

Options are being viewed to update the facilities at Snobs Creek.

The VFA Freshwater Fisheries met with Fisheries NSW to develop a 7 point plan to progress the production of Macquarie perch and trout cod.

Craig Ingram - Manager Projects and Stakeholder Engagement

Target One Million  - Events

The Target One Million team has a full calendar of events over 2019 that the VFA will be running or participating in:

  • Vic Fish Kids – the next of 5 events will be at Williamstown on 5th May
  • ATF/NFA Ovens River Challenge 6&7 April
  • Wild Harvest Seafood Festival Mallacoota 13 April
  • Go Fish Nagambie 25-28 April
  • WIRF Mother’s Day event at Albert Park Lake 13 May
  • BIA Boat Show
  • Snobs Creek Open Days
  • 4x4 Show
  • Goulburn Fishing Festival and Big Fish Stocking
  • Ballarat Fishing Festival
  • San Remo Fishing Festival
  • Hooked on Bellarine
  • Eildon Boating and Fishing Show
  • Talk Wild Trout Conference
  • Codference

Marc Ainsworth - Communications Officer VFA

A summary of the 2018 stockings is now available on the web.

The new 2019 edition of the Recreational Fishing Guide is now available as hard copy and on the web.

The new Fishing App is expected to be live in May.

Dallas D’Silva – Fisheries Regulation Review

The review of fishing regulations is proceeding.

The VFA consultants are preparing a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS).

By mid April decisions will be made determining which consultation input will be accepted. The public document will go out in July for 6 weeks public review and feedback.

The new Regulations will come into place on 3 Feb 2020.

The VFA is overseeing a new economic study on boating and fishing in Victoria. The final report is due towards the end of 2019.

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

NEW ACTION: Tom Camp moved that the 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.

Meeting closed 2:15pm

Next Roundtable meeting

Friday 28th June 2019 at 10:00am

1 Spring Street, Melbourne