Study into trout decline in Victoria

THE Victorian Coalition Government is allocating $890,000 to a three-year investigation into the causes of declined wild trout stocks in Victoria’s highland rivers to assist population recovery.

Ahead of the opening of trout season this weekend, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said this was the most significant investment in riverine trout research in decades.

“Anglers have expressed concern about low wild trout stocks in many northeast and Gippsland rivers, which have traditionally held self-sustaining populations,” Mr Walsh said.

“Surveys have confirmed there are fewer trout in the lower reaches of many highland rivers, likely due to hot weather and warmer than usual water temperatures, which are unfavourable for trout.

“This project will investigate this potential cause, as well as changes in fishing pressure, predation, reduced natural breeding and changes to bank-side shade.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries Bill Sykes, who is launching the Goulburn Fishing Festival on Friday, said trout in the Delatite River would be acoustically tagged to track their movement and better understand how trout respond to seasonally changing conditions.

“The project also involves a brown trout stocking trial in the Upper Goulburn and Howqua rivers along with assessments of wild trout populations in 12 important rivers,” Dr Sykes said.

“Volunteer anglers from local fishing clubs will also record their trout catch and effort, to help fisheries managers monitor the performance from season to season and in different stretches.”

The investigation is being funded by $565,000 from recreational fishing licence fees and $325,000 from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and the Coalition Government’s $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative.

“The Coalition Government recognises the significant social and economic contribution
recreational fishing makes to Victoria and we want to ensure our state remains a top fishing destination for both locals and visitors,” Mr Walsh said.

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