Victorian Fisheries Authority relocate native fish

By Laura Briggs

Goulburn-Murray Water and the Victorian Fisheries Authority have partnered together to relocate a number of native fish from the East Goulburn Main Irrigation Channel to more natural habitats.

A catch-and-release project, carried out by the VFA and a contracted electro-fishing boat, saw nearly 30 fish taken from the channel and released in the Broken Creek in Nathalia and Shepparton’s Victoria Park Lake during the past two days.

VFA’s John Douglas said the relocation was performed as part of the state government’s Target One Million phase two commitments which aimed to boost recreational fishing and grow participation to one million anglers by 2020.

Sixteen Murray cod, measuring between 40cm and 50cm long, were first released into Victoria Park Lake on Tuesday before VFA and G-MW staff made their way to Nathalia’s Broken Creek yesterday.

There they had a further six Murray cod, ranging from 50cm to 85cm in length, and six golden perch, 35cm to 50cm, that were released with the help of students from Nathalia Secondary College.

While most of the stocking the VFA has carried out tends to be higher quantities of smaller fish, Mr Douglas said the past two days had been a rare opportunity to release some bigger fish.

He said the aim behind releasing the fish in well-visited places was to provide families with improved outdoor experiences.

‘‘The idea for those places like the Shepp lake — it’s somewhere families can go and they can fish and have a good chance of catching a cod in there now that it’s been restocked — but if the kids are there and they don’t like fishing they can go and play in the park. So we like those urban centres where they’re a family-orientated spot where they’re not stuck fishing but they can do other things as well.

‘‘It’s getting more people out there enjoying nature, that’s what it’s all about.’’

Electro-fishing is expected to continue for about a fortnight and may be carried out again late in the winter season.