GREG'S LEGACY

Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

North East trout streams still under threat

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Here comes my favoutite topic again – the threat to recreational fishing in Victoria’s top five trout streams … the Kiewa, Mitta Mitta, King, Ovens and Buffalo rivers.

These five rivers are the most important and sustainable trout waters in Victoria, and the loss of any section of any one of the five rivers to trout fishing would be a tragedy for future generations of anglers.

FROM THE MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE
DATE: Monday, April 28, 2008

STREAM CLASSIFICATION TO BE TRIALLED IN THE NORTH-EAST

Public feedback is being sought on a new stream classification model to be trialled in the north-east, the Minister Responsible for Fisheries Joe Helper said today.

Mr Helper said Fisheries Victoria had organised four public meetings in May to gain feedback from the public about the new model.

“The draft stream and river classification model identifies waterways as salmonid, mixed or native fisheries and aims to provide transparency and direction for the future management of Victoria’s inland fisheries,” he said.

Mr Helper said the classification model was developed by Fisheries Victoria in conjunction with Victoria’s peak recreational fishing body VRFish and members of the recreational fishing community.

“The stream classification will help the promotion of individual inland waters to recreational fishers, which will ensure regional Victoria can continue to benefit from the tourism dollars injected into the local economy by recreational fishing activities,” he said.

Mr Helper said the development of the model follows a 2006 Brumby Government election commitment, which was in response to calls from the public and recreational fishing groups.

“The stream classification will be initially applied to five major rivers in the north-east as part of the trial. These will be the Kiewa, Mitta Mitta, King, Ovens and Buffalo rivers,” he said.

“Although these rivers are largely defined by the natural range of where species will survive, it is hoped the new classification process will provide more transparency in future fisheries management decisions.”

Mr Helper said three public consultation meetings were scheduled for the north-east and one in Melbourne in May to brief recreational fishermen and get feedback on the draft model and its preliminary classification.

“It is expected the final model will be completed by early 2009 and applied across the state by a taskforce appointed by Fisheries Victoria and VRFish,’’ Mr Helper said.

“The Brumby Government committed $13.5 million to recreational fishing at the last election and that has included work such as the stream classification and increasing fish stocking of inland waters by 30 per cent over four years.

“These activities will ensure Victoria has a thriving recreational fishing resource which can be enjoyed by current and future generations.”

The dates for the public meetings are:

· Bright – May 7 – 7pm to 9pm;
· Wodonga – May 8 – 7pm to 9pm;
· Corryong – May 21 – 7pm to 9pm; and
· Melbourne – May 29 – 7pm to 9pm.

For further information on the meetings or to reserve a place, please contact Duncan Hill – (duncan.hill@dpi.vic.gov.au or (03) 9658 4348 or Alison Gibson (alison@vrfish.com.au or (03) 9686 7077.

Whilst there is nothing in that media release to suggest that any waters will be closed to any type of fishing, one has to be suspicious of the governments motives in classifying these rivers. In my area, the fish species have chosen their own habitats and no government decree can change that.

The trout fishing in the King and Ovens rivers are under particular threat with the presence of the protected trout-cod.

Now, I’m not going to be able to go to any of these public meetings although I suspect some regular readers will be there because it might well affect their accommodation businesses should the classification prohibit trout fishing in their locality. If anyone does go along, would they please let me know what the government is proposing.

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Written by Greg Naylor

1 May 2008 at 8:42 am

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