of the Legislative Council
Thursday 17 March 2016
Mr FINCH (question) to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Dr GOODWIN
Given that Tasmania's Hydro storages are at record lows, can the Government give some idea to Tasmanian anglers and visiting anglers of the effect on freshwater fish stocks?
Mr President, I thank the honourable member for Rosevears for his question.
The Inland Fisheries Service is, as always, responding professionally to the dry conditions to manage our world‑renowned inland trout fishery for anglers and the environment, now and in the future. Popular inland recreational fisheries at Great Lake, Woods Lake, Lake Echo and Lake Burbury have all experienced low lake levels. Boat‑based angling has been hampered by these conditions.
The Great Lake, for example, fished well through most of the season 2015-16. However, by the middle of summer all of the major designated boat ramps at Swan Bay, Tods Corner, Cramps Bay, Brandum Bay and Haddens Bay were closed due to low lake levels. The Boundary Bay low level ramp has been the main boat access point since then. Other fisheries in Hydro Tasmania catchments in the Central Highlands, continue to fish well, with Bronte, Dee, Penstock and Little Pine lagoons the most popular. These fisheries are all expected to continue to be reliable for the coming 2016-17 season.
Other Hydro storages remain largely unaffected by the dry conditions and the Inland Fisheries Service is encouraging anglers to try new waters that they have not traditionally fished in the past. Fisheries at Lake St Clair and Lakes Rosebery and Macintosh are examples of relatively under‑utilised fisheries. Many of our rivers are also still fishing well, notably the Meander, Mersey, Leven and Tyenna rivers.
Tasmania experienced low levels in storages in the drought leading up to 2009 and whilst boat ramp access was restricted on several waters, the fisheries recovered and continued to produce good numbers of quality fish. Most of the trout fisheries currently experiencing low lake levels, other than Great Lake and Lake Gordon, are expected to approach normal levels by next season with average winter rainfall.
The Inland Fisheries Service is closely monitoring the environment and productivity of the trout fishery in Great Lake to inform its fishery management strategies for the 2016-17 season and beyond. At this stage, some impact to the trout fishery in Great Lake is expected as a consequence of the dewatering of weed beds that has occurred this year.
The Inland Fisheries Service is working closely with Hydro Tasmania to monitor changes to weed beds and the lake ecosystem including invertebrates, native fish and the recreational trout fishery.