VRFish State Election Policy

VRFish, the peak body for recreational fishing in Victoria has launched an 8 point plan to make fishing better in the lead up to the Victorian State Election in November.

The plan was prepared from brainstorming sessions involving our membership and a ‘How Can We Make Fishing Better’ survey of nearly 1900 fishers.

VRFish will continue to discuss with all State political parties in the lead up to the election to ensure the needs and aspirations of recreational fishers are strongly represented.

1. 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.

2. FIX OUR BOAT RAMPS – Boating infrastructure governance and funding reforms

  • 100% return of recreational boating registration and license fees to a Trust Account to build, maintain and improve Victoria’s recreational boating infrastructure.
  • Establish one single expertise-based agency to oversee, build and maintain our boating infrastructure.

3. SAVE OUR GIPPSLAND LAKES – Fish Recovery Plan for Gippsland Lakes

Implement a formal fishery recovery plan for Victoria’s iconic Gippsland Lakes Fishery including:

  • A fair and respectful compulsory buy-out of all 10 Gippsland Lakes Fishery Access Licenses;
  • A review of recreational fishing bag and size limits for black bream;
  • A plan to address factors suppressing the natural recruitment of black bream, including habitat improvement and mitigating saline intrusion, and implement a restocking program.

4. SUPPORT A STRONGER VOICE FOR ALL FISHERS – Recognising Fishing Industry Peak Bodies

  • Recognise Victoria’s fishing peak bodies in providing a single and independent voice of the fishing sector to Government.

5. MORE FISH, AND BETTER FISHING – Growing New Fishing Opportunities

  • Build a purpose-built native fish hatchery in northern Victoria to boost our freshwater fisheries stocking program, recovery of our threatened fish species and support any future National Carp Control Program.
  • Investigate the feasibility for a marine and estuarine fish hatchery to supply prawns, black bream, estuary perch, Australian bass, mulloway and flathead.
  • $10 million to restart Victoria’s purpose-built artificial reef program and expansion of the coastal Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) network.
  • Maintain current fish stocking rates and continue to develop new recreational fisheries (i.e. Lake Bellfield, Pykes Creek Reservoir and Upper Stoney Creek Reservoir).
  • Support a VRFish fishing access program to protect access to our fishing locations, gain access to closed areas and address conflict.
  • Allow on-water access to Tullaroop Reservoir by electric motored vessels, canoes and kayaks.

6. INVEST IN OUR SECTOR – Enhancing Our Recreational Fishing Trust Account

  • Match dollar for dollar recreational fisher license fee contribution to the Recreational Fishing Trust Account.
  • Review the allocation of funds from the Recreational Fishing Trust Account.

7. EMPOWER RECREATIONAL FISHERS – Investing in Our People, Our Sector

$4 million over 4 years for the recreational fishing sector to coordinate and deliver:

  • Community and school education programs;
  • Extension and adoption programs to improve best practice and fish welfare, and;
  • Leadership and training initiatives to build capacity within our sector to meet current and future challenges.

8. PLAN FOR OUR FISHING FUTURE – Responsible Fisheries Management

  • Return to co-management fishery principles
  • Create a 10-year Blueprint plan for Victoria’s fisheries including science, management, policy and enforcement needs and capabilities.
  • Fisheries Regulation 2009 review formally involving peak bodies to achieve simpler rules, less red tape and support the sustainability and optimisation of Victoria’s fishery resources.

Published 14 June 2018

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