The tributaries of the Gippsland Lakes have been stocked with estuary perch for the first time, as part of an ambitious plan to return the iconic waterways to a recreational fishing mecca.
Minister for Fishing and Boating Melissa Horne said the stocking of 200,000 estuary perch was a key action in the Gippsland Lakes Recreational Fishery Plan.
The 200,000 estuary perch were stocked into the Tambo, Mitchell, Avon and Latrobe rivers, all tributaries of the Gippsland Lakes.
The end of commercial net fishing in the region earlier this year paved the way for recreational fishing improvements such as stocking and upgrading fish habitat.
The perch fingerlings are each two centimetres long and will take about three years to reach the minimum size of 27 centimetres.
The fingerlings were bred from mature fish collected by volunteers earlier this year, after local tournament fishers joined members of the Marlo Angling Club to catch parent fish.
Estuary perch stocking is new to the Gippsland Lakes but not the Gippsland region, which has shared in nearly 260,000 fingerlings since 2017.
Lake Tyers, the Bemm and Snowy Rivers were stocked with estuary perch over the past three years and shared in a further 76,500 this year.
The estuary perch were stocked thanks to the $35 million Target One Million plan to get more people fishing, more often.
Under the plan, fish stocking will be boosted to record levels of 8 million in 2021 and 10 million in 2022.
As stated by Minister for Fishing and Boating Melissa Horne
“This significant stocking is a big step towards restoring the Gippsland Lakes to its former glory as a recreational fishing mecca.”
“Growing fishing tourism in Gippsland will help small businesses get back on their feet after they endured an extremely tough year.”
As stated by Minister for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett
“After bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic crippled small business in East Gippsland, it’s great to see more measures being taken to attract fishers and their families to the region.”