Research shortfall blamed for declining trout fishery

WITH rainbow trout numbers in the Snowy Mountains Lakes reportedly still on the decline, anglers are complaining that not enough is being done to find a solution.

While a public meeting was held last May in Cooma to discuss ways to halt the dwindling Snowy Mountains rainbow trout fishery, it appears not a lot has been done to halt the decline.  

Fishing guide Col Sinclair told the ABC, “There’s a lot of people just not coming because they’re hearing the fishing is tough. The best advertising for trout fishing in this country is to have people catching trout.”

Sinclair is among those who believe that NSW DPI is not doing enough to address the problem. “It’s the lack of fish that’s worrying me. It does appear that the hierarchy in Fisheries are not listening to the people on the ground,” he says.

The Department’s Inland Fisheries Manager, Cameron Westaway. told ABC South East NSW, “We’ve been concerned about the number of rainbow trout for about three years now.”

“I suppose we were spoilt about three years ago and the five years before, that we had an excellent rainbow trout fishery. And then the rainbow trout seem to have had a bit of a crash. We will do more research.”

Mr Westaway said he believes this could be a natural phenomenon related to the breaking of droughts.

Richard Tilzey, a former NSW Fisheries biologist, who researched trout in Lake Eucumbene from the 1960s until 1980, is critical of a lack of ongoing research.

“Since 1980 there’s been no monitoring. There’s been no collection of basic catch data to assess what’s happening in the fishery,” he said.

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