The Fishing Licence Trust celebrates its twentieth birthday this month, having substantially improved fishing opportunities through hundreds of projects delivered by fishing clubs, community groups and government agencies.
The Recreational Fishing Licence (RFL) Trust Account has made a significant difference to fishing in Victoria since its establishment on 1 April 2001 through a range of programs across the state.
Victoria became the first Australian state to introduce a recreational fishing licence in 1999, and the following year the Fisheries Act 1995 was amended to establish the Trust Account in order to collect and distribute revenue from fishing licences.
Fishing license fees raise $8.5 million annually. This money is then reinvested into fish production at Snobs Creek hatchery and the state-wide stocking program, better facilities and more fish habitat through the Recreational Fishing Grants programs, advocacy on behalf of recreational fishers through VRFish, extra Fisheries Officers and a range of educational initiatives.
Landmark projects funded by fishing licence fees over the 20 years include developing Lake Eildon into a premier Murray cod fishery, buying back commercial fishing licences in inland waters and Gippsland estuaries, deploying recreational fishing reefs in Port Phillip, Gippsland and near Torquay, establishing a Wild Trout Management Program and funding more fisheries officer positions.