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NEWSCAST - Recreational Fisheries News April 2022


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April 2022

Another Bumper Year of Dusky Flathead Stocking!

Five Recreational Fishing Havens have now received a significant boost of dusky flathead fingerlings, marking the end of the most successful dusky stocking season. 

Over recent weeks 23,200 fingerlings have been released into Lake Macquarie, a well-known flattie hotspot to the north of Sydney.

And in a marine stocking first, the Camden Haven River, on the Mid North Coast, received 11,300 of these highly popular and accessible sportfish. 

All the Lake Macquarie and Camden Haven fish were produced by the dedicated hatchery team at DPI’s Port Stephens Fisheries Institute.

On the South Coast, the ever-popular St Georges Basin received 14,000 duskies, while 16,000 went into Lake Conjola and 12,000 into the Burrill Lake. These fish were produced for DPI by Narooma Aquaculture and are a top up to the first batch of flatties stocked in these systems last year.

The total number of flatties released by DPI this season is a whopping 76,500!

The stocked fish are expected to have good survival rates and should reach legal size of 36cm within two to three years. They will be monitored by NSW DPI researchers with the help of volunteer citizen scientists. This work is designed to evaluate the growth of the fish, their movements and impact of fish releases on the recreational fishery.

These stocking events are a great example of your fishing fees at work! Contributing funds were also provided under the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy.

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Research Angler Program's Record Red! 🎣🔬

In a recent collection of frames from the Illawarra area, one of the reds donated was a 68cm fish that was aged at a staggering 40 years old. This means it was born in 1981! Not only is this fish the oldest aged for the RAP, but it is also the oldest snapper aged from NSW waters. It is also equal to the oldest known snapper aged in Australia; a 40-year-old fish caught of Western Australia.

From the frames donated by keen anglers to this program, our five oldest snapper have all come from the Illawarra area, see the graph below. This slow growth rate in reds from the South Coast has been demonstrated in many of the samples NSW DPI have collected in the program. Typically, snapper from northern NSW will have a faster growth rate and measure much longer for their age when compared to these southern fish.

Exciting discoveries such as this show that any frame donated to the RAP could provide interesting new data on your favourite species and better help us manage them into the future.

If you are interested in learning more about the RAP or getting involved, follow this link https://bit.ly/31laTTW.

The RAP is another example of your fishing licence at work.

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DPI Tagging Program Hits Half a Million Fish Tagged!

The NSW DPI Game Fish Tagging program is the largest saltwater tagging program of its kind in the world. Having been in operation since 1973, the program has now seen over half a million fish tagged by recreational anglers. A huge thank you to all the anglers, skippers and clubs who have contributed to this 500k milestone!

The program continues to provide valuable scientific information on the movement and growth of billfish, tuna, sharks as well as other sportfish like yellowtail kingfish and dolphinfish (Mahi mahi). The program encourages fishers to help improve the knowledge and understanding of the fishery, by providing tag and recapture data, which can then be utilized by scientists to look at fish migrations and improve our knowledge of fish stock structures.

Did you know: There have been 33,140 striped marlin tagged and 290 reported as recaptured since the program begun in 1973. While the majority of recaptures occur along the East Coast of Australia, there have been three recaptures where a tagged striped marlin has travelled distances greater than 1000 nautical miles from its original release location. The summaries of which are below:

 

  • Gold Coast to the New Zealand West Coast. 1175 nautical miles (2175km) in 521 days.
  • Bermagui to the Chesterfield Isles in the Outer Coral Sea. 1142 nautical miles (2110km) in 37 days.
  • Merimbula to Bellona Plateau in the Outer Coral Sea. 1007 nautical miles (1865km) in 218 days.
To find out more information on how to tag and report tagged fish, head to the NSW DPI website https://bit.ly/3qqwW7M.

The NSW DPI Game Fish Tagging Program is run using funds from the Recreational Fishing Trust.

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Schools urged to register now for the popular Get Hooked program 

It has been a busy start to the 2022 year for the Get Hooked, it’s fun to fish program, with 80 schools registered already. Students across the state have been attending fishing workshops, tours of DPI research and hatchery breeding facilities as well as having Fishcare Volunteers and staff attend in class lessons.

Registrations for this interactive in class and field based program close at the end of April, so if you’d like to sign up your school you can contact our Get Hooked team via our website.

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Another Successful $4$ Release!

The Sofala Branch of the Central Acclimatisation Society has released more than 12,000 Golden Perch as part of DPI’s highly popular Dollar for Dollar Native Fish Stocking Program.

The fish produced by Uarah Fisheries were recently released into the Turon River by Sofala CAS volunteers. This Turon stocking is only one of a number of Dollar for Dollar native fish stockings that have taken place across the State this season.

For more information about the Dollar for Dollar Native Fish Stocking Program, including how you can get involved, please visit https://bit.ly/3J0l2Ix.

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Bin It To Win It

NSW DPI Fisheries are looking for litter legends on the Walsh Bay piers and Sydney ferry wharves who are doing the right thing and helping to keep these areas clean and tidy.

 

We will be running a monthly competition where you could win a great fishing pack which includes a reel, line, soft plastics and a Fish For Life fishing shirt.

All you need to do is simply snap a photo or video of you doing the right thing on the wharves, such as picking up litter or fishing responsibly e.g. using a cutting board for your bait or ensuring your gear does not interfere with other users, such as ferry commuters. Each month we will select a litter legend who will receive the fishing pack. Head to the DPI Fisheries Facebook page to find out how to enter.

Recent visits to the piers and wharves from DPI staff and Fishcare volunteers have reported some great fish being landed, reiterating that these iconic locations are simply ‘too good to lose’!

Even the smallest effort by more people will go a long way to ensuring continued access and presenting fishing in a positive manner.

Fisheries would like to thank those already doing their part at these locations and respecting what great fishing places Walsh Bay piers and Sydney’s ferry wharves are.

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Tips for Maximising Fish Survival

Catch and release fishing is an increasingly popular practice among many anglers. It is quite common for fishers with a strong conservation commitment to release fish that they could legally keep.

Bag and size limits, closed seasons and locations and protected species, all require some fish to be released, so you need to be prepared.

Our top tips to maximise fish survival are;

  • Reduce deep hooking by using circle hooks or by lure fishing. 
  • Use suitable tackle for the species that you are targeting and minimise the time spent to land the fish.
  • Use a knotless landing to minimise damage to fish. 
  • Minimise time out of water.
  • Wet hands/gloves and brag mats before handling fish.
  • Use needle-nosed pliers to reduce time spent unhooking fish.
  • If fish is deeply hooked, cut the line short and release - do not attempt to remove hook.
  •  Consider the effects of barotrauma and release fish quickly. Use a release weight if necessary.
  • Do not suspend fish by the jaw, gills, or eyes. Support the fish properly for photographs.
  • When releasing fish, gently lower them into the water an revive – Do not return fish to water by throwing them. Place the fishes head into the current or do figure of 8 pattern.

For more info on best catch and release practices, head to the DPI website https://bit.ly/3L1zelS or check out  our catch and release video on YouTube https://bit.ly/3towZTI.

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Survey of recreational fishing in NSW 2019/20 report is now available! 🎣 🐟

Recreational fishing is one of NSW’s most popular pastimes with up to an estimated 1 million participants enjoying some of the best fishing in the world each year!

The fourth state-wide survey of recreational fishing in NSW was carried out in 2019/20. The survey found that state-wide, fishers within long-term RFL households fished for an estimated 1.7 million fisher days in 2019/20! Three quarters of all fishing occurred in saltwater (49% in estuaries, 26% in oceanic waters), with freshwater fishing taking place in rivers (16%) and lakes/dams (9%).

A web summary and the full report are available here.

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Fishing this Easter school holidays? Download the FREE FishSmart app  🎣 📱

This free app provides recreational fishers with 24/7 access to essential info they need to know to fish in NSW, such as a picture guide of common recreational species, bag & size limits, closed seasons and fishing gear rules! You can also use the real-time maps to locate your nearest FADs (Fish Aggregation Devices), artificial reefs, spearfishing info, recreational fishing havens and Marine Park Zones.

You can also quickly find your local weather, tide, moon phase and barometric pressure to help choose best time to fish and record your fish your very own catch log plus more.

Download the latest version of FishSmart NSW app from Google Play at http://bit.ly/2hO7jLZ or the iTunes app store at https://appsto.re/au/FY3gbb.i

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Make Your Crab Gear Safer For Other Wildlife!

Did you know that turtles can drown in crab traps after forcing their way into the trap or by becoming entangled in the mesh and being unable to return to the surface to breathe? You can make your crab gear safer by following these tips: 

 

  •  Reduce the entrance size of your crab trap to reduce the chance of a turtle entering (this is particularly important for large mouthed rectangular crab traps). This can be done by simply using either twine or an electrical cable tie to close the entrance in one or two places. It is considered that a maximum entrance size of 30 - 32cm is appropriate to prevent turtle entry. 
  •  Convert your witches hats to hoop nets - to reduce the probability of entangling non-target animals; witches hats can easily be converted to a lift net by removing the float from above the mesh and re-attaching the float line with several lengths of lines directly to the ring. 
  •  Check your crab gear regularly. Reducing set time for any fishing gear reduces the chances of harm to accidentally caught aquatic animals such as unwanted fish or protected species such as turtles. It also reduces the loss of gear which can sometimes move in tides and current and become marine debris if left in the water. 

For more info visit  https://bit.ly/36UdidD.

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Nambucca River Riparian Vegetation clearing 

Fisheries Officers were called to attend suspected illegal riverbank clearing upon the Nambucca River last week. Officers had no trouble finding the location thanks to information provided by a concerned member of the public.

Investigations are still ongoing on this matter, however it is a timely reminder of the importance that riverbank vegetation plays, particularly in times of flooding.

Native riverbank or riparian vegetation provides many benefits to fish and other species as it helps to stabilise the riverbank, reducing bank erosion and siltation; provides food for aquatic insects and fish; and helps to shade the waterways which in turn regulates water temperature. Riverbank vegetation also acts as a filter by removing pollutants such as pesticides and fertilisers from the overland runoff, helping to maintain good water quality.

It is your responsibility to determine what approvals are required if you decide to do any works in on or adjacent to any waterway in NSW. Penalties of up to $110,000 for individuals and $220,000 for corporations can apply if works are undertaken without the necessary approvals under the Fisheries Management Act.

If you suspect illegal activity, call the Fishers Watch phoneline on 1800 043 536 or report it online at https://bit.ly/3Hwy1AS.

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What do fishers want out of their fishing? Have your say! DPI Fisheries is investigating the goals of recreational fishers who target these three species in NSW. While most anglers and spearos know what makes a great fishing trip for them, it can be tough to work out what’s best for everyone across the fishery.

Clear sets of outcomes are developed alongside harvest strategies, to ensure that fisheries can perform for stakeholders across the commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fishing sectors. Earlier this year, we held workshops with NSW fishers to investigate objectives for Mulloway, Kingfish and Snapper. The findings of this first phase included increased investment in fisheries management, improved recreational fishing experiences and steps to ensure healthy stock.

For the second phase of this research, a survey of recreational fishers in NSW hopes to understand which objectives from these workshops are a priority for each species. The survey is now open to all recreational fishers in NSW. Read more about the survey via this link: https://bit.ly/3vKJpa2. This online survey is closing soon so check it out to have your say!

The research is funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust.

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