Around the Jetties 87

P.O.Box 23
Swan Reach 3903
Phone 03 5156 4674
Around the Jetties
February 2015
Issue No 87
An Anglers Newsletter
“The first step in any fishing equation is to find the fish, which sounds self-explanatory. But with estuary
perch, it’s vitally important because they can school very lightly and in a small area even in a large system.
This means that 96% of the estuary may be devoid of perch. You could waste a big part of your day just trying
to find them.”
Wayne Friebe “Luring Estuary Perch” First Published August 2006 Fishing Monthly magazine
This issue of Around the Jetties has an emphasis on Estuary perch and supports the
stocking of Lake Tyers with this species, long regarded as one of the best sporting fish for
recreational anglers as ‘it is a good fighting fish and is readily taken on artificial lures and
bait such as worms and prawn.” It is hoped that a trial stocking will be undertaken in
Lake Tyers, to match the stockings in the west of the state, almost all of which are
landlocked waters that will need regular restocking. It is hoped that any stocking in Lake
Tyers will lead to a self-sustaining fishery, as this small estuary once had a sustainable EP
The Labor Government is to be congratulated at the provision of a water flow for Lake Toolondo to save this
fishery. We now hope the Government will look at the protection of spawning fish at the
mouth of the rivers entering the Gippsland Lakes. This was a commitment of the previous
Government that was never met and this lack of action greatly disappointed recreational
I have written to Minister Jaala Pulford seeking consideration for the removal of the weir
on the Nicholson River to allow bass to move to spawning waters.
I have also put forward the suggested development of an exclusion zone for the
Maasbanker to provide unfettered surf fishing on local beaches for recreational anglers.
I hope with a new Government these proposals, that would make such a difference to
recreational angling, receive due consideration. Finally, I was included among editors of
fishing publications to meet the Minister at Parliament House in what was called a “getting
to know you meeting.” Unfortunately due to other appointments I was unable be part of this event, but what a
great idea for a new Minister to get to know those commenting on recreational fishing issues.
Photo of Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister Jaala Pulford at release of water into Toolondo,
Courtesy of VRFish News
Investigating the Historical Abundance of Estuary Perch in Lake Tyers
This research paper has drawn numerous comments, from local
anglers, with little favourable. The following comment from Ron
Brymer in an email I received on 2nd January was sent following his
reading of the report after it was mentioned in the previous issue of
Around the Jetties. (Issue 86) This was a very detailed letter and I
have attempted to bring out the important matters raised.
Readers might remember Lake Tyers Beach Angling Club
sought over a period of time the stocking of Lake Tyers with estuary
perch. This active club obtained a grant of $5,000 from Recreational
Licence funds and as part of required research into EP, handed the
funds to Fisheries Victoria who added a further $5,000 to prepare a
report entitled, “Investigating the Historical Abundance of Estuary
Perch in Lake Tyers.” Ron Brymer is a keen estuary perch angler
who devotes a lot of time pursuing this species on a ‘catch and
release’ basis and has an intimate knowledge of the species.
Hi Lynton, Happy New Year
I must say that it was indeed a confusing report and a bit of a “talk fest” and I was not sure what it was trying
to achieve, other than to state the obvious in some cases.
It is well known that estuary perch existed in Lake Tyers in good numbers as evidenced by some commercial
catches in the so-called good years. No doubt these good years if you can call them that, decimated the
breeding stocks and the netting would have been conducted low in the estuary during Spring when the EP,s
head down to the salt to spawn.
At this time, the fish are vulnerable to overfishing as evidenced by annual “slaughters” in the Marlo estuary
around French’s Narrows in years gone by. Fortunately, there were no Pro nets around Marlo then, or I
suspect the EP population there would be much lower and (smaller in size) than it is today. Lake Tyers is a
fairly big lake but there is only one (intermittent entrance) and hence spawning fish would be very vulnerable
in that lower lake if pro nets still existed there.
The DEPI report also posed the question of why there has been none or limited recruitment through spawning
of EP’s in the lake, rather than scientifically assessing the current population and the angler enthusiasm for
stocking EP’s in the lake, maybe the money allocated was insufficient for more meaningful research.
The actions above if implemented, would prove once and for all the lake has an EP population and is
therefore a suitable EP environment for stocking. Stocking Tyers would ensure build-up of EP stocks to
earlier levels to make EP's a viable fishery for recreational anglers in the lake.
I am not sure who initiated one other line of enquiry for the report-“failure to breed or recruit” is an odd
place to start if you don’t know the current population of EP's.
I am convinced there is a resident population and they breed annually BUT they are slow growing, starting
from a very low base and a help along the way by releasing
new stock would probably give the EP's a needed boost.
My wish is that EP can become as prevalent and as popular as
bream with a self sustainable population no matter which river
or estuary we are discussing.
Ron Brymer
Like you Ron, I wonder at the need for this investigation into
the abundance of estuary perch in Lake Tyers. I doubt this
report adds anything to the knowledge of local anglers. I come
back to the Taylor research paper “Marine Stocking in Victoria” where Dr Taylor states, “with the current
small interest in estuary perch by anglers fishing in Lake Tyers means that the costs and benefits of estuary
perch releases would need to be carefully assessed.”
When queried regarding the statement suggesting a lack of angler interest in estuary perch, Dr Taylor
indicated that this statement came from a local Fisheries Officer. This suggestion of a lack of interest was
made despite several submissions being made to the Lake Tyers Fisheries Management Plan Committee by
Lake Tyers anglers seeking a stocking of this species in 2006/7.
In the last 24 hours I have a verified report of a further 3 Estuary Perch being caught in the lake and this
would mean six reports of around 30 EP,s being caught in Lake Tyers since the report into the historical
abundance of estuary perch was published.
“The executive summary of this report states, “If estuary perch abundance and recruitment were
determined to be depressed and enhancement of the population and fishery at Lake Tyers was desired,
stock enhancement with hatchery-bred fingerlings is one option that may increase the abundance of the
There is no doubt that abundance and recruitment are depressed and given the enthusiasm over a decade of
local anglers would seem to indicate their desire to enhance the current small numbers of EP,s with hatchery
bred fingerlings. This statement in the report is self evident, and no report was needed to verify the enthusiasm
of anglers and the need to enhance stocks. It would seem that a considerable sum of money and time has been
wasted with this report if the above are the findings.
The report suggests that stock enhancement using hatchery-bred fingerlings is one option to increase the
abundance of the species, but strangely, the report provides no other options to be considered.
Sadly I come back to Ron Brymer’s initial view of this study, namely “it’s a confusing report and a bit
of a talk-fest” and I can’t but agree. The work being done by anglers, and particularly Lake Tyers Beach
Angling Club, to achieve a stocking of Lake Tyers with estuary perch could be significant for a number of
East Gippsland estuaries and is deserving of better support from Fisheries Victoria.
The Estuary Perch
(photo) The Great Perch Search, Mark Gercovich on the Glenelg River
The estuary perch is distributed from the Richmond River in
Northern NSW throughout coastal Victoria and as far west as the
mouth of the Murray River in South Australia. It is said to be abundant in
most Victorian rivers and estuaries being most common in estuaries with a
tidal influence.
Breeding seems to occur in the lower sections of estuaries in Victoria in
November-December. The estuary perch moves from the non tidal influence
to estuarine waters to spawn. The female estuary perch will produce several
hundred thousand eggs, which hatch after 2-3 days.
The estuary perch diet is quite variable consisting of shrimps, mullet,
prawns, worms, molluscs and a wide variety of small fish.
Cadwallader and Backhouse, in their excellent book “A Guide to
Freshwater Fish of Victoria,” suggest over exploitation by commercial fishermen in the past caused
numbers to decline. This would fit the Lake Tyers history. The authors also suggest that in many waters in
Victoria the estuary perch is an under exploited species, but this would seem to be changing as the lakes of the
Western District of Victoria are stocked with estuary perch developing a put and take recreational fishery, that
will require ongoing stocking. In Gippsland, Victoria, no rivers or estuaries were stocked with estuary perch,
and this is what makes the interest in stocking Lake Tyers important.
Stocking in Victoria
Estuary perch were first stocked in Lake Hamilton in 2000 when 1000 fingerlings were released, however
very few of these fish were caught and it is thought most escaped into the creek that flows from the lake. Lake
Hamilton was not stocked again with estuary perch. In recent years, there is a report of a couple of estuary
perch being caught in Lake Hamilton and they weighed between 1 and 2 kilos. In 2013 and 2014, 107,000
estuary perch were released in each of these years mainly in Western District Lakes. The brood fish were
caught in the Hopkins and Glenelg Rivers by recreational anglers and were flown to the Narooma Hatchery,
which is now involved in large scale production of estuary perch for Fisheries Victoria. These brood fish have
been retained at Narooma. Of particular interest is that in 2014, 32,000 estuary perch were released in the
Werribee River. This is remarkable when Dr Taylor’s comments in his report on Marine Stocking in Victoria
included the statement on the Werribee River that, “alongside the water quality issues within the river and the
general good health of estuary perch stocks across Victoria, stocking of estuary perch is not recommended
within the Werribee River.” Now this stocking is a little hard to follow particularly when the fingerlings brood
stock is from the Hopkins and Glenelg Rivers.
Franz Grasser, VRFish councillor, who lives alongside the main canal of the Patterson Lakes, in a
letter dealing with estuary perch states the man made canals of this system now has a population of estuary
perch that has developed over the last 2-3 years. Franz writes “While it is not clearly established how these
fish got here, my feeling is they probably colonised these waterways themselves. They are known to be present
in the Hopkins River in Geelong as well as in some locations at the top end of Westernport, so while this
represents a considerable swim, the EP is capable of doing just that.”
Could estuary perch from the Werribee River move into Eastern waters?
John Harrison, Secretary of the Lake Tyers beach Angling Club, which is the club sponsoring
discussion on stocking Lake Tyers with Estuary Perch provides the following clear approach“My understanding is that the EP’s along the South coast are of the
same species , but perch on the East coast of Victoria and extending
into New South Wales MAY!!! be a separate species. If there are
two different species then Wilson’s Promontory is thought to be the
dividing line.
As far as our attempt to undertake supplementary stocking
of EP,S into Lake Tyers is concerned, the thinking is that it must be
assumed that there are two different stocks and so the whole
breeding program would need to be duplicated and this would be
most expensive.
I have made the suggestion that perhaps the sensible thing would be
to genetically test the East Gippsland EP’s, e.g. from the Snowy
River and hence to determine once and for all if there are two different species. If it turns out that they are all
the same stock then fingerlings from the Western breeding program could be utilised. If different stocks then
obviously there are cost/benefit decisions to be made.”
This sensible approach would provide definitive answers with all available facts that would allow
consideration of the stocking of Lake Tyers with EP’s.
Unfortunately Fisheries Victoria has not responded to this suggestion
Estuary Perch and Bass and Hybridisation
“The Australian bass is easily confused with the similar estuary perch. Even experts can confuse the two
species.” Australian Fish Guide by Frank Prokop (Australian Fishing Network 2000)
Almost all fishing books on fish identification when identifying estuary perch will indicate it is very hard to
separate them from Australian bass.
What may not be known is the hybridisation between the two species, which is said to be hampering
the recovery of recreational fisheries for bass, as there can be a risk of using hybrid bass as brood stock for
recovery programs. A genetic analysis of 1,218 fish identified that 11.5% were hybrids. Hybrids were
observed in waters extending from the Snowy River in Gippsland to the Albert River in Victoria, which
suggested a hybrid zone in Victoria. The highest rate of hybridisation between the species was found in the
Snowy River.
Some years ago a captive breeding program of Australian bass took place at the TAFE Bullock Island
facility, near Lakes Entrance. Brood fish were obtained from the Snowy River. I was informed at the time the
only way of determining whether the bass was not a hybrid was by using the DNA of the bass to determine
that they were not hybrids. Now anglers have a problem to determine when they catch a bass in the Snowy
River, whether it is a bass or estuary perch, or could it be a hybrid.
Just to make things more difficult I have a scientific paper indicating that black bream and yellow fin
bream have hybridised in some waters on the NSW coast, however the numbers are not large.
Bob McNeill’s Diary Report
The fishing period Bob covered in this report was from the 31st of October 2014 to
the 9th January 2015. In that period Bob recorded catching 111 dusky flathead and
returning 15 undersize fish. This report covers the release of two fish above the
55cm size limit with the biggest fish being 79cms.
In the same period he boated 23 black bream and returned two undersize fish.
Whilst the dusky flathead fishing in this period was good, Bob spent considerable
time chasing bream and they were generally scarce. An interesting aspect of this
report is the fact that no other species were caught although Bob does report being
broken off by large fish and he presumes these were tailor.
A feature of this period was the consistent winds that made fishing
difficult on many days. In this period, Bob fished on 18 mornings commencing
fishing at 6.00am in the early days of the report and 5.30 in the last few days, and
he generally ended his mornings fishing around 10.00am. Over this fishing period Bob averaged six size
dusky flathead per morning, and only one black bream. It must be said, that he specialized fishing for dusky
flathead using his favourite bait live mullet, however he did seek bream on a number of mornings and the low
average gives an indication of their scarcity over this diary period.
I went out on the morning of Friday 23rd of January. This was the first time I had been out in my boat for a
number of months. When my fishing partner and I returned to the jetty at around 10.00 am, there was Bob
with a big smile on his face. He lost no time in seeking as to our success. We had three rather average dusky
flathead and two average bream. It had been a quiet morning. When I enquired how our fishing diarist had
gone, he lost no time providing us with details of a great morning's fishing. He had caught his bag of dusky
flathead (5), and released a 60cm flathead and also had 3 nice bream, but in addition he had landed a 54cm
tailor and a snapper that would have gone about 35cms.The interesting aspect of this excellent catch was the
snapper which would have entered Lake Tyers during its recent opening. We both wondered just how many
other snapper are now trapped in the closed lake.
News Items for Anglers
A Major Artificial Reef
Agriculture Minister, Jaala Pulford, visited Bates Pipes and Products at
Geelong on the 16th January to inspect the 25 huge custom made concrete
reef modules that will be installed 3 kilometres offshore between Breamlea
and Torquay. The reef modules, measuring over four metres high and
weighing up to 20 tonnes, will be installed in 25 metres of water. This is a
$1.5 million habitat enhancement project funded mainly through the sale of
recreational fishing licences. The Minister said during the inspection of the
reef modules “We’ll make sure Victoria is the best place to wet a line and
invest in projects that promote this great pastime.” I am sure anglers will
look forward to developments in this area.
Water for Toolondo
I noted in the last issue of Around the Jetties that the Labor Government included in its commitments to
anglers the “development of Lake Toolondo in the Wimmera as one of the states leading trout waters.” I
indicated in the newsletter (Issue 86) that the basic problem facing Toolondo was retreating water, and with
the summer heat and the water level only 17% of capacity that there was the possibility of a major fish kill in
this Wimmera Lake. It was pleasing to see on ABC News on Saturday 17 th January the Premier Daniel
Andrews at Toolondo to observe a major top up of water for this important lake. This lake has a fast growing
population of trout including fish that could be regarded as trophy trout as well as a redfin population.
Congratulations to the new Government on its quick action to protect this fishery and maintain the most
important fishery in the Wimmera.
*Former Minister Peter Walsh said he refused to release environmental water stocks to the lake saying stock
and domestic concerns were more important than fish.” Weekly Times December 31st 2014
Bank Fishing Areas in Lake Tyers under Threat
I recently went to have a look at Crystal Bay and Pile Bay two areas on the eastern side of Lake Tyers. These
are areas from where bank anglers could fish in the past, and both were delightful picnic areas. I need to report
and warn anglers that both these popular spots are now almost impossible to reach other than in a four wheel
drive due to erosion of the tracks leading to the lake. In March 2012, on several separate occasions, John
Harrison, Secretary of Lake Tyers Beach Angling Club, led parties that
included Fisheries Victoria officers, Parks Victoria Managers, the local
member of State Parliament and the executive officer of VRFish to
examine the problems of the eastern access to this beautiful estuary.
There was particular emphasis on the needs of elderly and handicapped
anglers. These full day inspections of tracks and possible camping
areas were reported on in Around the Jetties Issue 55 March 2012. It
was hoped that these full day visits would lead to progressive
improvement to access and facilities for anglers, naturalists and
Rather than any improvement in tracks, it would seem that key tracks have greatly deteriorated until
now they are almost impassable and there is little evidence that the discussions and visits to these areas in
2012 have had any effect.
Photos of Tracks into Crystal Bay and Pile Bay tracks Jan 2015
Ultimately Parks Victoria is the body responsible for maintaining these tracks and areas, and of course lack of
adequate funding will be the automatic response to angler concerns. Of course the case for improvements have
not been helped by the vandalising of the Burnt Bridge and Cherry Tree areas where excellent barbecue
facilities provided by Parks Victoria were vandalized and wrecked in the past. These facilities understandably
have not been replaced.
I have received a number of letters in the past, as would John Harrison, on the issue of Parks Victoria closing
tracks with boulders. We also had on site discussions from 2011 onwards, regarding improved access for
anglers, particularly the elderly and handicapped. Unfortunately, it would seem nothing has improved in the
interim. Dawn, who was with me on this exploration, commented that she would not like to be, ‘driving a
CFA truck in a hurry on its way to a fire in these areas. Some of the erosion is positively axle breaking
The Stocking of Prawns in Lake Tyers. Have we Learnt Anything?
It is now perhaps time for Fisheries to provide a detailed report to anglers and the pubic regarding the attempt
to stock Lake Tyers with Eastern King prawns. Readers may recall a study undertaken by Dr Mathew Taylor
from the University of NSW into Marine Stocking of a number of estuaries and inlets in Victoria. Lake Tyers
was one of these estuaries. The species examined were black bream, estuary perch, Mulloway, dusky flathead,
and Eastern King prawns and his report stated, “Eastern King prawns would be an ideal candidate for release
in Lake Tyers.”
On the basis of this study Fisheries Victoria sought
and obtained $232,000 of recreational anglers licence
fees to undertake a stocking of Eastern King Prawns
in Lake Tyers without any prior local discussion with
Photo shows Fisheries Officers and Local
Member, Tim Bull releasing prawn larvae.
Stocking had been undertaken in Wallagoot Lake and
Merimbula Lake in NSW and had been regarded as
satisfactory, however I am doubtful if stocking of
prawns continues in NSW.
In the case of Lake Tyers very little consultation took
place with local anglers and clubs, and questions as
to what happens when Lake Tyers opens to the sea were never satisfactorily answered. This was an expensive
experiment undertaken by Fisheries Victoria as the 12mm prawn larvae had to be brought from the Rocky
Point Prawn farm in Queensland. Little information was provided on the need for an annual stocking of
prawns if a long term recreational prawn fishery was to be developed.
Many anglers still enquire as to what were the results of the attempt to stock Eastern King prawns in this
Victorian estuary. Surely it is time Fisheries provided answers as to what has been learnt with the attempt to
stock Eastern King prawns in this state. Perhaps we just forget this failed attempt.
Access to Launching Facilities for Anglers
I was concerned when during the weekend of the Lake Tyers Groundswell Music Festival I was stopped on
the road into Lake Tyers at the Lake Tyers Primary School, and informed I could not travel further in my car.
I explained to the two gentlemen manning the roadblock that I had intended going to the No 2 Launching
Ramp. Access was refused. I then asked if I brought my boat down for the evenings fishing could I have
access to the launching ramp. Again this was refused. These chaps were very nice when denying me access,
and I am sure they were just following instructions, however I believe that refusing access to a public boat
ramp for anglers was wrong. I wrote a letter to the Public Relations Officer of the Gippsland Shire setting out
my concerns.
On the 20th January I received a letter from East Gippsland Shire Events Facilitator Stephen Kleinitz. He
indicated my letter had, “raised a valid point about the impact of the Festival on the local fishing community
and access to the boat ramp. He further added, “access to the ramps and to the surf for fishing is certainly
something we will be addressing with the event organiser, along with providing greater information to people
wishing to go fishing.”
This letter concluded that public feedback including the concerns I had raised would be provided to the event
organisers. Importantly the East Gippsland Shire will be “providing them with further instructions should they
wish to run a similar event in the future and we will ensure access to boat ramps is made possible.”
I thank the East Gippsland Shire and Stephen Kleinitz in particular for the response that protects the rights of
anglers to access launching facilities on Lake Tyers.
Fishing for Murray Cod?
In previous issues of Around the Jetties I described how one keen
angler had found dozens of lures around the edges of Lake Eildon.
This same recreational angler was back at Lake Eildon in the week
prior to Australia day, and in three days found a further 21 lures
and actually caught a 75cm Murray cod trawling using one of the
lures he had found. He carefully released this fish making a guess
at its weight.
He like many other anglers was not aware of the measure provided free by Fisheries Victoria, which calibrates
the length of the fish and the weight. This measure can be placed in the boat or attached to a light board. It
covers fish to 1 metre in length and also applies to golden perch. In the case of the 75cm fish, its weight would
have been 8.6 kgs or in the old terms 18lb. If you fish for Murray cod or yellow belly you can get one of these
measures by phoning136 186 and a measure will be despatched to you. It’s a great idea and allows you to
release the fish knowing its weight without damaging the fish in any way. Readers might remember that over
1 million Murray cod have been released into Lake Eildon and a similar number of Golden perch. This lake
has changed dramatically from a trout and redfin water that I fished in the 60’s decade to a native fishery
today. This lake has been stocked from the Snobs Creek Hatchery over recent years.
Wimmera River Gets a Boost
Fisheries Victoria announced on the 27th January that 60,000 golden perch of 1 gram each were being released
into the Wimmera River at a number of spots including Jeparit, Dimboola and the Horsham area. It is
suggested these golden perch should be catchable size in 3-4 years. Normally the annual release into the
Wimmera River is around 30,000 fish but with increased water flows from the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline, the
river is more than 70% above normal levels for this time of the year. This is a Mallee River that has the
somewhat dubious characteristic of flowing into the inland Lake Hindmarsh, which in turn when water flows
from Lake Hindmarsh, it runs into Lake Albacutya and then into desert country. There was a saying that the
average angler would see water in Lake Albacutya twice in a lifetime.
In addition to the Wimmera River stocking, 30,000 golden perch will be stocked in Taylors Lake just out of
Horsham. These stockings are funded from anglers licence fees.
The Wimmera River has one other claim to fame in that it is the only
river where the freshwater catfish can be legally caught in Victoria,
with a bag limit of two fish.
Currently Native Fish (Wimmera) are undertaking research to develop a captive breeding and restocking
program for catfish. This project is being funded by recreational angler licence fees.($133,920) As an angler
who enjoyed fishing for catfish in Frenchman’s Creek, north West of Mildura, some forty years ago I hope to
see the day when they are being stocked in Victorian waters. Until that time, the Wimmera River and its
catfish are an important fish resource in this state.
An Empty Chair to Fill
I received a note from the DEPI on the 11th June 2013 announcing the appointment of Ross McGowan as the
new Executive Director of Fisheries Victoria. Anthony Hurst the former Executive Director of Fisheries
Victoria, and Travis Dowling, the popular Director of Fisheries Management and Science took up new
positions disappointingly in areas not associated with fishing. This was termed by the Coalition Government
as a restructure. Recreational anglers expressed some concern at the appointment of Ross McGowan who
came from being Executive Director of the Seafood Industry in Victoria in which position he represented the
interests of the commercial fishing industry, which in some ways could be seen to conflict with the interests of
the more than 700,000 recreational anglers in this state.
I understand that with the change of Government, Mr McGowan has moved from Fisheries Victoria to the
Department of Economic Development. Travis Dowling has moved to the position of Executive Director to
the Secretary DELWP. He has been assisting the Secretary with liaison with both Minister Pulford’s and
Minister Neville’s Office. In this position he will have input into a wide range of issues including this states
Travis Dowling has indicated, “There has been a lot of action from the new Government in the Fisheries
space. Minister Pulford has met with many recreational stakeholders, delivered water into Lake Toolondo and
is currently working on implementing a number of Labor election commitments.”
Anglers will wait with great interest to see the developments that will take place. Travis was in the area with a
team that included VRFish and Fisheries anglers for some fishing in Lake Tyers. Travis reported during the
weekend he “managed to get my biggest ever dusky, a 73 cm big girl on a prawn. Got a nice photo and then
happily put her back.”
Living Fossil Captured
A trawler from Lakes Entrance fishing in
700 metres of water recently caught a frilled
shark. This is one of two species remaining
from an ancient family said to be 80 million
years old. It has been previously caught in
waters as deep as 1500 metres but is
uncommon below 1200 metres. The frilled
shark is often called a living fossil.
It reaches a length of 2 metres and has a dark brown eel like body. This
shark has long flexible jaws enabling it to swallow prey whole. It has 300
needle shaped teeth aligned in 25 rows. Some literature suggests the body
shape of this species allows it to feed along crevices.
This rare fish was offered to Melbourne Museum and the CSIRO however
both already hold specimens.
Source-South East Trawl Industry Association Newsletter
January 2015
New Fisheries Appointment
It has just been announced that Allison Webb has been appointed as the new Director of Science and
Management at Fisheries Victoria. Ms Webb comes from Canada where she has spent 15 years working for
the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. She has been Director of Aquaculture in the Pacific Region
and was part of Canada’s negotiating on the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Recreational anglers will look forward to
the contribution of Ms Webb to this states recreational fishery.
Source- VRFish Monthly Newsletter January 2015
The Law and Recreational Anglers
It is true that a small number of recreational anglers are making it exceptionally difficult
with their poaching of fish resources in Victorian waters, which is really at the expense
of fellow anglers. The two examples quoted in this issue of Around the Jetties are
particularly blatant, and I would imagine most anglers would hope the full force of the
law is applied to those concerned.
Case 1
In the first case Fisheries Officers based in Portland seized 79 bream, 1 mulloway and 10 fishing rods as a
result of alleged offences taking place at nelson on the Glenelg River on the 21 st January. Acting Regional
Fisheries Officer for Western Victoria Murray Burns said “Only three of the fish caught on the Glenelg River
were of the legal size of 28cms with many less than 24cms.” Mr Burns added that the mulloway was only
36cms when the minimum legal length for this sporting fish is 60cms.
Ten anglers from Naracoorte in South Australia were interviewed and infringement notices totalling $5,316
were issued to these people.
The Glenelg is a very special river holding large numbers of both legal sized and undersized bream,
mulloway, and estuary perch, remembering this river was the source of brood stock estuary perch for the
current releases undertaken by Fisheries Victoria.
Case 2
A call to the 13 FISH reporting line helped Fisheries Officers detect two
Melbourne men aged 24 and 27
Allegedly with 55 snapper in their car boot of which only one fish met the
legal minimum size limit of 28cms
The fish were seized and the men are expected to be charged on summons
with four separate offences including “taking or possessing fish less than
the minimum size, and taking or possessing more than the catch limit.”
Each offence can attract a fine of $443. The Director of Enforcement and Education with Fisheries Victoria
Ian Parks said “this is a particularly serious and disappointing due to the excessive number of fish taken and
that nearly all were under legal size.”
Thanks to Fisheries Victoria for this information and anybody who sees illegal fishing is urged to call the 24
hour number 13 FISH (13 3474)
Source Fisheries Victoria Media Releases
Letters Letters
More Information on Estuary Perch in Lake Tyers
I received the following letter from Steve Wheeler on the 15th January 2015.
Hi Lynton,
I did a trip to Lake Tyers before Xmas with some mates and had a good day. We caught a few bream and all
the flatties we wanted, but the surprise was on a weed edge near Mill Point we caught six estuary perch and
dropped a couple. All fish were high 30’s and released.
Cheers Steve
Editor This report following Ron Brymer’s information on the same subject in the last issue of Around the
Jetties supports the view that a couple of small colonies of estuary perch exist in Lake Tyers. The fact that
these fish caught by Steve Wheeler and mates were in the “high thirties” would seem to indicate there is the
potential for the development of an estuary perch fishery in this small estuary.
An Important Letter for Anglers from Dr Joel Williams
I received this letter on Thursday 22nd January, and regard it as a most important request to which we as
anglers should respond. Fisheries Scientist Dr Joel Williams studied black bream in the Gippsland Lakes
before taking a position in Western Australia and carrying out further studies on black bream. Readers would
be aware of a decline in the number of Fisheries Scientists in this state. Now read onDear Lynton,
I am not sure if you remember me, but not long ago I was working with Jeremy Hindell investigating the
spawning ecology of black bream in the Gippsland lakes. I do see my name appearing regularly your very
insightful newsletter.
Since that research project I have continued my Black Bream research in Western Australia and am now
looking to come home and continue research in the Gippsland Lakes. I am interested in applying for a DEPI
large grant (funding from the revenue of recreational fish licences) to establish a research project in the
Gippsland Lakes. As a well respected member of the recreational fishing community, in particular that of the
Gippsland lakes, I would be interested in knowing what you see as priority research topics or questions that
you would like to see addressed.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Once I have determined the key research areas I will put together a project brief. To enhance the application
we would be seeking a letter of support from the recreational angling community. Unfortunately, the timing of
for these grants is tight as they are due at the end of February.
I look forward to receiving your response and potentially working in the Gippsland Lakes again.
Regards- Joel Williams
Editor If anglers have any thoughts as to research they believe should be undertaken on the Gippsland
Lakes, and provide me with that information I will get ensure it is promptly communicated to Dr Williams.
This is a unique opportunity for anglers to influence where there licence fees are spent. It would be great to
have Dr Williams back and working in an area he knows so well and contributing to the future of recreational
fishing in this magnificent waterway, which is facing numerous challenges. Dr Williams was the author of the
informative article “The Secret Lives of Black Bream.”
Some Thoughts on Estuary Perch and the Gippsland Lakes
I have had some detailed correspondence with Franz Grasser the last email being received on the 14 th January.
The following are some excerpts taken from those letters. Franz is a long term respected VRFish Council
member, however the comments taken from his letters are his personal views and not necessarily those of
VRFish. I thank Franz for his thoughtful contribution.
Dear Lynton,
I do understand the massive deterioration over the past couple of decades. In the mid to late 1990,s I worked
for Siemens, and we had an annual fishing competition in Gippsland. This was held on the three rivers until
about 2000 when we switched to the Bemm River instead. In those days we caught some cracking bream in the
Tambo and to a lesser extent the Mitchell and Nicholson, but by about 2000 we moved due to the rapid
decline in the Gippsland Lakes fishery and I sympathize with your efforts to find ways of restoring what was
once a great fishery.
Going back to Lake Tyers, you have identified that there are already some EP’s there. This may cause
problems obtaining Fisheries Translocation Evaluation Panel support because their process is very
conservative if there is any risk at all of stocking fish that are genetically similar but different to naturally
occurring ones For instance the TEP prevented the stocking proposal for EP’s at Devil Bend a few years ago
partly because of the risk that any escaped fish could interbreed with naturally occurring EP’s. This in spite
of the fact that it is highly unlikely that such naturally occurring EP’s even existed then.
As far as I am aware all the current EP brood stock is from the Glenelg River and this is the reason that the
risk of interbreeding with EP’s from other genetic areas are being clamped down on. I also understand that
the work done to restock bass into the Snowy River used brood stock from the Snowy itself. Do you think it
feasible to obtain brood stock from Lake Tyers?
With regard to the Lake Tyers Fisheries Management Plan, it is typical of most such plans inasmuch as there
is little or no action on any of them. With or without a FMP including EP’s you will not achieve any action
unless it is advocated.
Good Luck
Franz Glasser.
Firstly I thank Franz for his thought-provoking letter. I doubt whether it is feasible for brood stock to be
obtained from Lake Tyers as it is only since 2007 that there has been the occasional confirmed reports of
estuary perch remaining in Lake Tyers. We have had indications from anglers of estuary perch moving
between estuaries and we know that the Mitchell River has a stock of EP’s and that the species is breeding in
that water and the same can be said for Marlo so it would seem there is a possibility of brood stock on both
sides of Lake Tyers.. We also know that commercial netters take around two tonnes annually of bass/estuary
perch in the Gippsland Lakes and it is suspected that many of these fish are taken in nets at the mouth of
rivers. I would suggest by electro fishing in the Mitchell River, brood stock might be obtained and that they
would be genetically the same as the Lake Tyers EP’s.
However, this is only conjecture on my part and a study of EP’s in the Gippsland Lakes might be an
ideal project for Dr Williams to consider. (see earlier letter) It is worth remembering that Fisheries Victoria
expended $232,000 of licence funds on the failed stocking of Eastern King prawns in Lake Tyers. The
suggestion for stocking Lake Tyers with EP’s comes from anglers and this is a substantially different
approach to the stocking of prawns in Lake Tyers, where anglers were informed of the stocking with little
prior consultation. I am sorry to say that I, and a number of other anglers, have a similar opinion to Franz
regarding the value of Fisheries Management Plans, after our experience with Lake Tyers, and unfortunately
the same can be said for one day meetings on fish habitat, which result in a report but little other action.,
Around the Jetties on Line
Around the Jetties can now be sourced on the Lake Tyers beach
The newsletter will still be emailed to readers and of course those who do not have access to email
facilities will still receive hard copies
Readers- Don’t forget you may get a friend or an interested angler onto the mailing list for
Around the Jetties by simply sending us an email with details of the person you are nominating
and his email address or a letter with details of a mailing address. We do not advertise but rely
on readers talking to others and the number of readers just continues to increase.
Good Health and Good fishing
Late News- As a result of representations by readers to this newsletter, which I have taken to
VRFish, I am pleased to share with you this letter from Dallas D’Silva chairman of VRFish
(received today Monday 2nd February)
Hi Lynton and John
Thanks for catching up on Friday. There was some great discussion and some useful outcomes.
One of them was for me to follow up the status of the 1 mile beach transit ‘’no go’’ zone.
As you know, VRFish managed to negotiate this last year after talking to the licence holder.
I spoke to the licence holder again today and I can confirm that the above agreement with VRFish remains in
The licence holder has acknowledged that transiting close to shore can ‘spook’ schools of salmon and he has
agreed to transit at least one mile from the shore to minimise this risk.
We are also pleased to announce the licence holder has once again voluntarily agreed not to fish near areas
that are hosting large fishing competitions along the beach.
Finally, it would be good if you could inform fishers that the vessel in question is not a trawler and it is not
trawling when it is transiting offshore.
I will be in touch again soon on the other issues such as EPs in Lake Tyers, commercial netting near river
mouths and the quality of Fisheries Victoria scientific reports.
Best regards
Bass and Estuary Perch.
Which is which? Can You Tell?
Bass are easily confused with estuary perch. Even experts get confused but according to Frank Prokop, author
of the AFN Australian Fishing Guide, they can be most easily separated by the forehead profile, which is
straight or slightly rounded in the bass and concave or slightly indented in the estuary perch.
Estuary perch prefer tidal waters or the lower reaches of coastal rivers. Australian bass are more common in
the northern part of the range with estuary perch becoming increasingly common in southern NSW and
According to Phillip Cadwallader and Gary Backhouse, in A Guide to Freshwater Fish in Victoria, the Bass is
of moderate size with elongated features, a compressed fish with slightly concave to straight head profile.
Body less deep and more torpedo shaped than Estuary Perch. Usually less glossy with darker lateral markings,
Anal and Pelvic fins with white tips Most lateral rays of pelvic fins white.
The same authors describe the Estuary Perch as having a deeper body, the snout is longer more pointed and
opercula fins less stout. Generally paler than the Bass but tips of most fins darker, excepting the pectoral fins.
The AFN concurs that the head profile is indented to concave in the Estuary Perch.
Interesting to note that like Bass and Flathead, all larger specimens are female and they must have access to
salt water to breed.