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FISHING PRESSURES-IS THIS A SHARED CONCERN?

Discussion in 'Chewing the fat' started by Old fisho, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. Old fisho

    Old fisho Well-Known Member

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    I write of a local concern, and wonder if it's more general than localised. Our lake fishing is generally down a bit during winter, and the lake is fished less, but it's not a bad time to be out there. This year I've hardly been on the water at all, and therefore speak on current information supplied by others.

    Winter over; then the Christmas Holidays arrive, and the pressure really comes on. For several years, from Christmas to Easter; visiting fishing clubs have been here every weekend; usually for three days, with at the highest count to date; up to 70 additional boats on the water.

    Our fishing is now deteriorating at a new and unprecedented rate. Exacerbating this, we now have clubs here virtually every weekend, starting in November; two months earlier. Some of these are catch and release competitions. The local fishing club; heavily involved in conservation in general, also indicates a dramatic reduction in catch numbers. They fish catch and release.

    I read that good numbers of fish are caught during these club weekend, and it can give the impression of good fish stocks, but rarely mention the reduction in ratios between bigger fish and small ones.

    We invited some locals to dinner the other night. While not particularly good fishers, they love to go out, and have always been able to sit in their tinny to catch a feed on baits dropped over the side. They talked us through the list of species they used to catch, and are disappointed by the lack of species, numbers, and sizes of those they now catch; and much more rarely.

    Far be it for me to prevent others from going fishing, but in more places than here, the pressure on our waters is increasing, and the inevitable result is less and less fish to catch. In short the current trend is unsustainable due to increased populations, spreading developments, and improved access through boats, vehicles, and roads.

    We know too that many rivers and streams are losing their water for various reasons. These are critical to the health of our estuaries, and many now are closed to the sea for longer periods.

    What we've had will soon no longer exist. The end is nigh. Old fisho
     
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  2. Master Baiter

    Master Baiter Active Member

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    Interesting topic, the nearest Lake to me is hardly fished and those that do fish it are mainly locals. If I scan the Lake I will see no one in Winter and this time of year such as last weekend which may have been a long weekend for some due to Melbourne cup day Tuesday, there was a few boats around the ramp which were mainly water skiers probably two thirds of the boats were fishing craft maybe about eight.
    The Lake does fish well for Cod and Yellas and big big Carp as well as small Redfin that are far are few between.
    It seems there needs to be a balance in fishing lakes Lake Eildon is a Lake that gets fished in certain inlets and camping areas and three quarters of the Lake untouched.
     
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  3. creekboy

    creekboy Well-Known Member

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    2 Great posts there. Memories are all we have left, but we still have them. All I can say is " AH FOR THE GOOD OLD DAYS" Cheers, creekboy.
     
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  4. Rod Bender

    Rod Bender Well-Known Member

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    Here in Victoria the government is throwing millions of dollars towards promoting fishing...'Target One Million' I think they refer to it as. They want to boost numbers of people fishing to one million I guess! Is this sustainable? In our case yes due to the work being done by fisheries in stocking and other aspects such as banning netting in certain areas.

    I guess it boils down to the effort the individual state governments put in. I attended a conference today conducted by fisheries. For a short period I was talking to the Executive Director of Victorian fisheries. Like other fisheries staff in attendance he was wearing a red t-shirt...with jeans! We are lucky, we have a cool guy in charge who will listen!:cool: Apart from government intervention in problem areas of the country, unfortunately I can't see anything happening to resolve your problems Noel.
    Cheers
    Team Bender
    May yet get a job as a fashion advisor!
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
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  5. diesel

    diesel Well-Known Member

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    Here in Qld, we have had environmental issues on top of the annual fishing pressure that comes with the influx of southern tourists each year. Don't get me wrong, we need the tourist dollars up here as much as anywhere in the country, but we don't need the extreme pressure that over-fishing (mainly by tourists) is having on our fisheries, both saltwater and fresh.

    We cannot do anything about the environmental damage caused by extreme weather events such as cyclones, but the over-fishing problem can be controlled with heavier penalties imposed on those who elect to ignore fishing regulations. In recent times, Fisheries officers have increased their presence in areas that suffer the highest occurrence of over-fishing and no longer do they exercise leniency when imposing applicable penalties and rightly so.

    We do not have the pristine, clear water inland rivers like the southern states, but we do have some very healthy impoundments that are starting to become heavily fished by locals due to the fact that the estuaries are over-fished, especially between Rockhampton in the north to Tweed Heads in the south.

    I have heard reports coming from places like Karumba in the lower Gulf being totally devoid of legal size barra due to over-fishing and those that make the trip up there each year leave very disappointed.

    So, what is the answer to an ever increasing problem in so many locations around the country? Education doesn't seem to work because the majority of people only think of themselves and what they can get today - stuff tomorrow. Limiting club activities in the worst effected locations could work. Restrictions on powered vessels in some inland waters does seem to work and maybe imposing no go areas for a period of time so that fish stocks recover will also work.

    Jeff :cool:
     
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  6. reelaxation

    reelaxation Well-Known Member

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    Its pretty much same up here on the Central Coast mate, we still have a large pro fishing fleet and they take what they want to make quota- so in between Sydney and Lake Mac the CC and Hawkesbury are the only areas the pros are allowed to fish.
    Then like everywhere we got the weekend warriors out in their boats and in the entrance and tuggerah lakes both LB and in boats - fisheries have made a few big busts in recent months for people unlicensed and keeping undersize fish or exceeding bag limits... This is a good thing but not enough... We need a full on recreational fishing haven which extends from South Sydney to Newcastle and get rid of the pros.
    Since Sydney Harbour had pro and commercial fishign banned all those years ago fishing is nothing short of awesome down there- with pelagics and bread and butter species all the way from the heads to up near Parramatta and also well up past Lane Cove.
    I dont know how long we can sustain the amount of fisho's in the area- and I am glad some of the local places I go to dont seem to suffer as much pressure as others- but every little bit counts so what might happen up The Entrance will somehow have an effect on where I fish in Broken Bay- if none of the baitfish moving south with the warm currents dont make it to sydney or they dont come up well my area gets nothing through winter and this extends to the beginning of spring and into summer.
    I guess there isnt very much I can do but I do release most of my fish unless I intend of feeding myself and give the odd feed to the nrighbours so I appreciate what little extra bit I do personally for the environment.
     
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  7. Ditch

    Ditch Active Member

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    I think clubs play an important role around the area that I fish here in northern NSW with stocking the dams as well as education on catch & release fishing. I know that Keepit Dam is well stocked with Golden Perch & Murray Cod by NSW Fisheries as well. There are several fish hatcheries that have been set up by local clubs for this purpose so that numbers of native fish can remain the same if not increase.

    My local dam, Splitrock, was once stocked by local clubs. My father & a few of his friends established a club in town not long after Splirock was built, mainly to raise money to buy fingerlings. Even before then they were stocking the rivers in the area with Golden Perch, Murray Cod & Trout out of their own pockets. Sadly that club is now more like a social club, instead of raising money for stocking it is used for outings & a yearly Christmas party.

    A club in Gunnedah does do a lot of fundraising for stocking & to keep an area at Keepit open that State Water wanted closed. Copeton Dam is also well stocked.

    I have noticed a lot more boats on the water lately. A lot of new boats. With the increase in the coal mining in my area it seems people have more disposable income to spend on recreation than say 10 years ago so the pressure on stocks has increased.

    I think the fishing has actually improved in my area over the last 10 years or so. A lot more people a practicing catch & release as well as not targeting Cod in the breeding season. Still have the odd person doing the wrong thing - using set lines or droppers overnight being the main offence. See a lot more NSW Fisheries on the water these days as well which is a good thing.
     
  8. Old fisho

    Old fisho Well-Known Member

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    G'day guys. We've been away a few days: An old mate and his lovely lady have just had their 50th anniversary. Many of us would be glad to have the friendship they still enjoy after 50 years together. Not by accident; there were 50 people in attendance; funded totally by their two mid aged daughters. We talked with some lovely new people, including some great fishos I'd not met before. A weekend filled with company and food; and we won't mention the reds, white, and for me too, occasional beers.

    This post is of course a lost cause in a sense. It's serious stuff; but I can't imagine any way we mere mortals can change anything. It's great to see some people contributing, but my realistic philosophy is that it cannot and will not change. The ultimate summation, and there are many wiser than I who adopt the same belief; is that the biggest single threat existing on this planet is population. It's inevitable that the population will outgrow the ability to feed itself, while I feel it will likely run out of water first, but long before that happens, most hobbies, including recreation fishing, will have long disappeared.
    That's sadness in its extreme.

    We will have seen and enjoyed something, perhaps within the foreseeable future, that will disappear for ever. I won't be here, but the very thought is saddening.
     
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  9. Old fisho

    Old fisho Well-Known Member

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    Most interesting that you include this Jeff. We only went to Karumba once and would never return (not the fault of the town, but the people we met there). We never caught one legal fish, but that was perhaps due to our lack of knowledge. During the recent weekend I spoke often with Barry who has gone there each of the last ten years. This involves a 7000km round trip, and he says they fish fairly hard while there. This year he spent the usual eight weeks, and caught eight fish (keepers) with the best a mere couple of centimetres over the legal limit. He says he will not return as fishing has been on a downhill slide like that for several years, and no longer justifies the effort and expense involved.

    I agree too with Ditch about some waters, impoundments in particular, fishing well due to management and stocking. The very fact that stocking is needed says that the waterway cannot sustain its own stocks under today's fishing pressures. Please: I am not being pessimistic; just saying the facts as I see them. In Eucumbene there have been no stockings of browns for years as they believe, and it seems correct, that those fish are a self-supporting stock. Countless thousands of rainbows are poured in, as many prefer to catch them. The stocks never seem to increase though as a large percentage of the rainbows are killed while still too small to be of any value. Last year I was told the number of rainbows going up the Eucumbene River to spawn was an absolute disaster.

    The main point of my comments was about estuaries, where stocking is no so available or possible. As for policing our waters, in the hundreds of times I have been on Tuross lakes; over perhaps fifteen years, I have only once spoken with fisheries inspectors. The number of maritime inspectors seen is little different, and the consistency of boat safety breaches is beyond belief. Noel.
     
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  10. diesel

    diesel Well-Known Member

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    It is saddening, Noel and frustrating that so much of our population do not seem to care about the long term future of the planet. There appears to be an attitude of 'why should I care, it wont affect me'. We have politicians who are not being proactive in ensuring that their decisions will be beneficial to future generations, they are incapable of taking an holistic view of ways to fix the looming problems - they only think of what's in it for them today, not 50 years from now and that goes for all of them.

    One only has to take the Great Barrier Reef as an example of the problems facing the planet. The top 1500 kms of the GBR is dying due to back to back coral bleaching events over the past 2 years and it may never recover. The death of this unique ecosystem will have a flow-on effect right throughout the entire western Pacific region, not just Queensland waters. We are already seeing a sharp decline in the numbers of some fish species in northern waters and maybe this is just the start, it will get worse before it gets better or perhaps we have gone past the point of no return. Commercial and excessive recreational over-fishing without recovery time can have disastrous consequences and the eastern Pacific waters around southern California and Mexico are testament to that - the whole ecosystem changed because of over-fishing for sharks. They wiped out all shark populations and the new apex predator became the Humboldt Squid - a very nasty critter with a voracious appetite for attacking and eating most things in the water, including humans. Upset the balance of the food chain and everything ends up out of whack.

    I think you are right, Noel, fishing as we know it today will disappear and probably the only thing we can do is slow down the process. It will mean sacrifices across all aspects of fishing, but that is a small price to pay when one considers the result of not doing anything at all.

    I will step down off my soapbox - rant over (for now).

    Jeff :mad:
     
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