Vin Versace releases a native catfish caught on Sunday morning with the electrofishing boat.
Vin Versace releases a native catfish caught on Sunday morning with the electrofishing boat.

Two research scientist from Austral Research Consulting were in Dimboola on Sunday morning fishing for carp with the a research vessel designed to electrically stun the fish.

The electrofishing boat is used to stun the fish so that the researchers can collect data on fish stocks.

Vin Versace and John Trethewie invited the Banner onto the boat to learn about the program of electrofishing research.

The researchers were contracted by the Wimmera Catchment  Management Authority to collect data on fish numbers along the river.

Vin Versace said, “WMCA contract us four times a year to do surveys of the fish numbers in the river.”

The  Dimboola fishing expedition was short lived as the boat was taking water and the crew decided to abandon the morning’s work.  It turned out to be a loose bung plug and easily fixed.

They did however catch four carp and one catfish.   

The purpose built boat has two booms that lower stainless steel wire probes into the water. With the  use of a complex console they manage the voltage put into the water and the fish are stunned and come to the surface, netted and put into a tank.

The data is recorded on the results of the operation and the native fish are then returned to the river.

The researchers worked the river between the boat ramp and the weir.

The crew will also performed surveys on the river at Antwerp and Jeparit, before doing a demonstration at the Jeparit Christmas Fishing competition.

Mr Trethewie said, “with the flows of the river, the carp would have been pushed down stream clearing the water of the pest fish. We expect to find larger quantities as we work our way down towards Jeparit.”

“We worked at Polkemmet yesterday and only caught 12 carp, it’s is still flowing quite fast there,” he said.

Mr Trethewie also suggested that the WCMA install a fish trap at the Dimboola weir to catch the carp.

“WCMA along with other suggestions should install a fish trap at the weir.  The wire baskets catch the jumping carp and not the native fish,” he said.

Mr Trethewie said, “fishers below the Jeparit weir should make the most of the fishing opportunities at the weir. Any fish caught below the Jeparit weir are paid for out of recreational fishing licenses, so I support them having a fishing competition and taking the fish caught.”

“When the water dries up, the fish will die out, so they should be making the most of the fishing now,” he said.

President of the Jeparit Anglers Club, Rick Day told the Banner that the researchers caught only five carp and a catfish above the weir on Sunday afternoon.  

“They only caught five carp in the demonstration, as well as one goldfish and catfish. Tomorrow (Monday) they will fish below the weir where I would expect they will catch a lot more carp as you can see the number of carp jumping below the weir,” said Mr Day.

New report says Victorian fisheries in good shape

The Victorian Fish Stock Status Report has been released and indicates the majority of the state’s wild fish stocks are in good shape, which is excellent news for recreational and commercial fishers and seafood consumers.

Fisheries Victoria Executive Director, Travis Dowling, said the report provides a clear overview of how the states distinct populations of fish breeds are managed and applies a rating based on the best information currently available.

“To simplify its findings, the report uses a traffic light rating system of green, amber or red to indicate the relative health of each fish stock,” Mr Dowling said.

“The risk management ratings take into account stock status, drawing on the 2014 National Stock Status Report, recent stock assessments and current management settings in Victorian waters.

“Of 27 key Victorian managed fisheries rated in the report, 17 were classified as green, 10 were amber and pleasingly, and none were red.

“Green rated fisheries were eastern and western Victorian stocks of Australian salmon, eastern and southern stocks of sardines, black bream, dusky flathead, King George whiting, Murray cod, Port Phillip Bay scallops, school prawn, black and white sea urchin stocks, eastern and western snapper, calamari, rock lobster and tailor.”

“When reading the report, it is also important to bear in mind that fishing is not the only factor that affects our fish stocks. Many of our stocks fluctuate naturally over time, and are affected by environmental drivers and the condition of their habitats.”

Mr Dowling said the report is a Victorian-focussed companion to the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks report, released in 2014 and soon to be updated in 2016.

“Our new report includes the national stock status ratings, which are based on standard, agreed approaches for determining whether the abundance of fish and level of harvest from the stock are sustainable.”