Science Underpins Year Round Trout Fishery in South West

There’s no denying that most avid trout fisho’s dread the annual salmonid closed season, a time where trout are left to breed in rivers and streams without interruption from anglers. However, some rivers rely solely on trout stocking for their trout populations. Rivers such as Mt. Emu, Moyne, Hopkins and Merri Rivers all rely on trout stocking as the rivers do not have the right environment for trout to breed naturally.

VRFish has written to the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) requesting that salmonid closed season is removed in Mt. Emu and Moyne Rivers after the success of the year round salmonid fishery in the Merri and Hopkins Rivers. After consultation with VRFish members, VRFish submitted an initial proposal to the VFA to remove salmonid closed season from south-west rivers, including Mt. Emu, Moyne, Merri and Hopkins Rivers. It gained a high level of support as the populations in these rivers rely on stocking with little to no natural recruitment and the closed season is not warranted on sustainability grounds. In 2017, the VFA announced that the Hopkins and Merri Rivers would have the closed season removed, however, Mt. Emu and Moyne Rivers were left out of the regulation changes.

This year was the first time trout anglers were able to get their trout fix throughout winter. On social media, we saw lots of anglers taking the opportunity to catch trout in the Merri and Hopkins Rivers proving this to be a successful change in regulations. It gave anglers more opportunities to fish over winter and the flow-on benefits to surrounding regional areas would have given a boost to their economies.  The current Victorian Government is committed to getting more people fishing, more often under the Target One Million plan. By removing the closed season from Mt. Emu and Moyne Rivers, it will provide anglers with enhanced fishing opportunities during a time of year when other fishing opportunities are constrained.

VRFish is calling upon the government to remove the closed season from Mt. Emu and Moyne Rivers. By opening up these salmonid fisheries year round, it can provide further fantastic angling opportunities year round in the south-west.

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