From the editors desk
  |  First Published: October 2009

You don’t have to go far in the fishing game to find local issues that potentially wreck the fishing for the majority.

It can be simple things like boat ramps to more complex issues such as commercial fishing pressure and water usage.

Commercial fishing pressure at Portland

Our Portland writer Chris Hall expresses the concerns of Portland anglers where a local professional fisherman is netting in and around Portland Bay. As Chris points out, many locals feel that this is a very destructive type of fishing and is extremely detrimental to all species in these areas.

There is a code of practice in place that covers this type of fishing between the professional and the recreational angler in this area but it is claimed that this is being totally ignored.

Chris says there have also been numerous reports of dead penguins being washed up along these shores, and sightings of the nets being strung out while there has been a southern right whale and calf frolicking in these waters.

Chris, through his tackle store at Portland, will be monitoring this situation over the coming months and will put a petition together to highlight this issue to Fisheries Victoria.

South Esk River Draft Management Plan

In Tasmania another issue is brewing over the state government’s ‘drought proofing Tasmania’ plan. The State Government has just released a Draft Management Plan, which will govern future use and management of the South Esk River: there is a period for public comment open until the 11 December 2009.

The South Esk is one of Tasmania’s better trout streams and is a very popular destination for anglers.

The scientists commissioned to recommend the environmental flow rates (also known as ‘cease to take flows’), recommended 100-160ML/Day flow rates. These levels would preserve the environment, and maintain minimum levels for anglers and other recreational users.

Despite the recommendations from the government-commissioned scientists, the Draft Management Plan is recommending environmental flows of 40ML/Day – less than half the recommended flows.

The Draft Plan has this to say of its own 40ML/Day environmental flows: “This Plan maintains base-flows in the South Esk River up to 40ML/day during the December-April period. During the December-April period, the cease to take flow threshold is considerably less than the recommended minimum environmental flow thresholds (100-160ML/day), and hence there is a higher level of risk to the environment as a result. Whilst it would be preferable to set cease to take flow thresholds as recommended, the potential impact on irrigation water supply would have been significant.”

The Draft Plan recognises that an environmental flow rate of 40ML/Day will risk environmental damage to the river. In risking damage to the environment, and by recommending flow rates of less than 100-160ML/Day as advised by the scientists, the Draft Plan fails to meet its own listed Environmental Objectives.

The Draft Management Plan also fails to meet its requirement to “Ensure that environmental water receives a greater level of security than consumptive water.”

Anglers need to demand that the environmental flows are set to the recommended 100-160ML/Day. This will allow for planned irrigation development, but will also protect the environment and angling.

View the Draft Management Plan at www.dpiw.tas.gov.au and have your say by making a submission to: --e-mail address hidden--

McLoughlins Beach Ramp Update

A meeting was recently held at Darren Chester’s electorate office in Traralgon to review the public response and to read correspondence received from the Wellington Shire.

The letters and emails that readers have sent to Darren Chester have been forwarded onto other agencies.

Will Thompson informs us that we have moved one step closer to retaining and improving the McLoughlins Beach boat ramp and infrastructure. The Wellington Shire has submitted a grant application in the latest round of the Boating Safety and Facilities Grants. This grant application is for a feasibility study, to be done on the McLoughlins Beach boat ramp.

This is the first step of many that the Wellington Shire will have to make over the next couple of years. Thanks must go out to the Wellington Shire for submitting this application to MSV, to the Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester MP, Darren McCubbin the Mayor of Wellington Shire and to Ben Scullin at VRfish for their time and effort they have put into this project so far.

The McLoughlins Beach Resident and Rate Payers Association have been battling over the past 12 years to get the boat ramp and surrounding infrastructure upgraded and maintained to a standard that reflects the level of usage.

It is important that the level of support shown so far continues. Keep writing to Darren Chester MP telling him why this boat ramp is important to you, so he can present the strongest possible case for State Government funding. Letters of support can be sent to Mr Chester’s office at PO Box 486, Sale or 126 Franklin St, Traralgon. Email --e-mail address hidden--

Never a dull moment!

Enjoy November, it’s a fantastic month.

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