Recreational fishers will be able to fish for Murray cod all year in Victoria’s west with the three-month closed season to be removed from the Wimmera and Millicent basins, except the Wimmera River.
Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) CEO Travis Dowling said extensive consultation has shown strong support from recreational fishers to remove the closed season for Murray cod in the area.
“The response through the VFA’s consultation of fishers was extremely positive and this will have benefits for fishing and for regional tourism,” Mr Dowling said.
“The Wimmera and Millicent basins are outside of the natural range of Murray cod and thousands of fingerlings are stocked into waters each year, including the ever-improving fisheries at Rocklands Reservoir and Taylors Lake.
“Removing the closed season will deliver year-round fishing opportunities and boost businesses that depend on tourism, with fishers flocking to towns throughout the year to chase these iconic native fish. Creating more opportunities for Murray cod fishing also complements the State Government’s $35 million plan to get more people fishing, more often.”
Mr Dowling said the annual closed season – which runs from September 1 through November 30 – would remain in the Wimmera River, where Murray cod are more likely to breed and will be afforded the extra protection of the closed season.
“Fishing pressure will also be moved away from rivers by removing the closed season. Rivers are where Murray cod naturally breed and this will allow them to ‘have a rest when they’re on the nest’, consistent with our ‘Care for Cod’ campaign.”
“Removing the closed season for cod at Lake Eildon in 2016 has proved a huge success and we’re confident this will have a similar effect on fisheries in the Wimmera like Rocklands, Lake Charlegrark and Taylors Lake.
“Key recreational fishing bodies have come out in support of the change to closed season regulations, including VRFish, who initiated the move. Native Fish Australia, Mid-Northern Angling Association and Wimmera Anglers Association have also strongly backed it.”
VRFish chair Rob Loats said the move to open year-round Murray cod fishing in the Wimmera and Millicent basins is another example of progressive and positive fisheries management, helping to ensure great fishing for years to come.