Victorian Treasurer Kim Wells pulled on some waders to help release golden perch fingerlings into Lake Eppalock last Wednesday.By Barbara Sungaila
It is not every day you see a politician wearing a business shirt and waders to work, but for Victorian Treasurer Kim Wells it was the perfect attire when he released 5000 golden perch fingerlings into Lake Eppalock last Wednesday.
Part of a $16 million boost to recreational fishing state-wide over four years, it is hoped increased fish stocks will attract some of Victoria’s 850,000 anglers to the district and bring significant economic benefits to district businesses such as caravan parks, shops, restaurants and pubs.
‘‘Lake Eppalock was Victoria’s premier golden perch fishery more than a decade ago, before the worst of the drought, and attracted local anglers from Bendigo and further afield including Melbourne,’’ Mr Wells said.
He hoped improved conditions would make Victoria a preferred fishing destination to other parts of the country.
A total of 400,000 fingerlings will be released into the lake over two years in a project funded by the Victorian Government’s recreational fishing initiative and from the sale of recreational fishing licences.
It is expected this will be supplemented by additional releases by local angling clubs.
The first of these fish are expected to reach legal fishing size by 2015 and those from previous releases, including golden perch and Murray cod, are available to catch now.
Fisheries Victoria fisheries management and science director Travis Dowling said the lake was currently a predominantly redfin fishery, with some Murray cod, and the re-stocking would change this balance.
Prior to the drought, 100,000 golden perch fingerlings were released each year.
About 60,000 fingerlings were released earlier last week, with the remainder of this year’s stock in the next two weeks.
At 28 cents for each fish, the cost of this year’s release is about $65,000.
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