It’s been all about the Bass on the rivers of East Gippsland recently. The Australian Bass that is.
Last week saw the release of 10,000 Bass fingerlings into the Nicholson River at Deptford as part of a project undertaken by the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA), the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Bairnsdale RSL Angling Club and Victorian Fisheries Authority.
The release compliments the stocking of 454,000 Bass across 19 rivers and Lakes throughout Victoria, including 95,000 Bass into the Snowy River in recent weeks.
“We’ll always put our hand up to look after the health of our fishery.” said Russell White, President of the RSL Angling Club. “Bass have been a scarce fish to target in the past. We want to be able to help in some small way, and if down the track that means our kids can catch a fish then even better.”
Australian Bass rely on spring floods to trigger spawning and migration. The Nicholson Dam (below Deptford) creates a barrier that the Bass cannot cross. This project; and previous stocking of Bass in the river by Victorian Fisheries Authority, is keeping a good population of Bass in the river while we consider how to address the dam barrier impacts.
“Angling clubs are passionate about fishing and the environment and are actively involved in looking after fish stocks.” said Travis Dowling, CEO of the Victorian Fisheries Authority. “It’s great that we can work with the EGCMA and the angling club to look after our environment and our fishery as one.”
“The Water Plan for Victoria recognises the value of our rivers and waterways to our community’s wellbeing.” said Graeme Dear, CEO of EGCMA, “Partnering with others such as our local angling clubs and the Victorian Fisheries Authority is exactly what the Water Plan is about.”
This project compliments the State Government’s commitment to delivering its $46 million Target One Million plan for recreational fishing, which aims to grow participation to one million anglers by 2020.
It isn’t very often you wouldn’t be able to spot a Pelican when visiting the Gippsland Lakes. For a species that is often sighted though, not a lot is known about its breeding and behaviour patterns in the Gippsland Lakes.
Birdlife Australia, together with the regional group of volunteers from Birdlife East Gippsland, are working on several projects funded by the Gippsland Lakes Community Grants 2017.
Graeme Dear, CEO of the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (CMA) said “The Gippsland Lakes funding is a priority in the Water Plan for Victoria. The projects are very much a partnership of agencies and community groups working together for the benefit of the Lakes”.
The Australian Pelican will be one of the focus species of the projects. With its cultural significance and a bird that everyone knows and recognises, the new information will assist in demonstrating the importance of the Gippsland Lakes as a refuge in times of national and regional drought. It will also assist in the future management of wetlands. Other species will also be monitored including resident and nomadic birds such as Egrets, Cormorants, Ibis, Spoonbills and Herons.
Deb Sullivan from Birdlife Australia said “The iconic Pelican expanded its nesting colony to a second site over the previous breeding season but this year it doesn’t appear that this will happen. It is known that the pelican has a nomadic response to significant rain events but there is no information on this response for the Gippsland Lakes. We hope through our projects that we may be able to answer some of those questions.” The Gippsland Lakes is home to one of the few permanent breeding rookeries in Australia for the Australian Pelican.
Other work will include monitoring the distribution and behaviour of waterbird and shorebird species, impacts that human disturbances have on migratory birds as well as creating a breeding index to gain a better understanding of bird breeding patterns to ensure their long term survival.
Mr Dear said “The Gippsland Lakes are recognised internationally as a Ramsar listed wetland and are a vital habitat for native plants and animals. As a major tourist and recreation destination they also play a vital role in supporting the region’s economy. The Gippsland Lakes community projects play an important role in looking after the Lakes.”