New RFL fish habitat projects launched

VRFish, the peak body representing 838,000 recreational fishers in Victoria, attended a ministerial launch of funding for new habitat projects as part of the 2017/2018 recreational fishing licenses (RFL) large grants program.

To continue to improve recreational fishing in Victoria, Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, announced funding to four new fish habitat projects worth more than $267,000.

“Restoring and improving fish habitats continues to be Victorian recreational fishers number priority for investment. Fishers clearly understand that habitat makes fishing happen,” said VRFish Executive Officer, Michael Burgess.

“It’s also pleasing to see Government, Catchment Management Authorities and a range of fishing groups all working together to bring vital habitat back to our rivers and boosting our fishing,” said Michael Burgess.

Two of the new projects will be managed by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) which will see tree snags installed in the lower Goulburn River at three sites near where the river connects to the Murray River. The second project will see fish habitat created through boulders and snags being placed into the water on the Rubicon River.

The East Gippsland CMA will be improving fish habitat in the Snowy River to assist populations of Australian bass and other migratory native fish.  The final project will see the North East CMA improve fishing habitat on the Mitta Mitta River between Lake Hume and Eskdale.

RFL funds are are reinvested back into our sector towards projects that aim to improve recreational fishing in Victoria. Further announcements of successful RFL projects are expected in the coming weeks.

The event also celebrated the completion of RFL funded habitat restoration projects in the Goulburn River. This includes the recent re-snagging of the Goulburn River where logs were placed back into the waterways to create a safe habitat for native fish after the area was de-snagged in the 1960’s.

Habitat, including its protection, restoration and enhancement, are amongst the five key priorities for VRFish as habitat is critical to ensuing the quality of our fisheries and fishing experiences.

VRFish’s election priorities also echo the need for further investment to improve the State’s fish habitats, with recreational fishers at the forefront of the activities.

RESTORE FISH HABITAT – Making Fishing Better Through Better Habitat

Invest $30 million into a habitat fund for on-ground fish habitat action benefiting our marine, estuarine and freshwater fisheries, including:

  • Living shellfish reefs, riparian vegetation, in-stream habitat, water quality improvements, fish passage barrier removal, fish screens and pumps, and;
  • Building capacity of our recreational fishing sector to lead, and participate in, fish habitat activities.

Above: VRFish has suggested better coordination with Vic Road’s work program can yield more tree stumps for  fish habitat while offsetting the loss of trees in the construction of our road system.

Above: Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford announcing four new RFL funded habitat projects.

Above: Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford releasing a Murray cod captured in an electrofishing survey, demonstrating our native fish take residence around new woody habitat.

View the Victorian Government’s media release Boosting Fish Habitat For Anglers And The Environment.

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