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NSW DPI NEWSCAST Recreational Fisheries News - July 2023

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July 2023

Narrandera Hatchery Sets Murray Cod Record – Again!

For the second year running, the expert hatchery team at DPI’s Narrandera Fisheries Centre have produced and stocked record numbers of Murray Cod. A total of 1.286 million juvenile Cod were produced at the Narrandera facility in the 2022–23 season, eclipsing the previous record set in 2021-22.

This outstanding result will complement natural recruitment and help maintain strong populations of these iconic native sportfish in key impoundments and associated river systems.

As with previous stocking seasons, the Murray Cod fingerlings produced at Narrandera included progeny of fish rescued in a joint operation involving DPI Fisheries and volunteer fishers during the 2019 drought, as part of the NSW Government’s $10 million Native Fish Drought Response.

DPI has partnered with the inland aquaculture sector and local recreational fishing groups to trial the stocking of “advanced-sized” juvenile Murray Cod which measure 200-300mm compared to a traditional fingerling of about 30-50mm.

This project has been undertaken to assess the effectiveness of selectively releasing larger sized Murray Cod to help fast track recovery of inland waterways affected by natural disasters. The tagged fish will be monitored by DPI researchers using state-of the-art electronic tracking systems.

REMINDER: Do the Right Thing on Sydney’s Ferry Wharves! 🎣

NSW DPI Fisheries urges all fishers to do the right thing and act responsibly while fishing Sydney’s popular ferry wharves.  

When fishing the ferry wharves, you can do your part by:

🔹 Immediately clear lines and move out of the way when ferries approach; 
🔹 Treat ferry workers, commuters and other users with respect and courtesy; 
🔹 Keep knives stowed out of sight while not in use; 
🔹 Responsibly dispose of all rubbish, even if it’s not yours; 
🔹 Take a cutting board to prepare bait and clean fish; 
🔹 Use a bucket with a lanyard to wash down any fish mess or waste; 
🔹 Minimise your tackle and keep it organised and neat; 
🔹 Do not shine torches or other lights toward ferries when they approach; 
🔹 Do not block passenger access to ferry services; 
🔹 Do not use any gas burners or cookers; and,
🔹 Be considerate of nearby residents and keep the noise down, especially after 10pm

If you plan on fishing Sydney Harbour wharves or other popular land-based locations, such as the Walsh Bay piers, be advised that NSW Police will be conducting regular patrols across the entire ferry wharf and pier network and that heavy penalties can apply if you are caught doing the wrong thing.

Helping the mighty Mulloway

Mulloway is classified as a 'depleted stock' in NSW and DPI Fisheries is developing a formal harvest strategy for this important species to improve certainty in future decision making on harvest controls for Mulloway.

Recreational fishers can do their bit to help our mighty Mulloway by following the below tips:

1. Reduce the risk caused by deep hooking

  • Use circle hooks when using bait - Circle hooks significantly reduce the risk of deep hooking. Choose non-offset circle hooks for the best results. To use them successfully you need to adapt your fishing technique by not striking and keeping the hook well exposed. More circle hook tips are available on the DPI website.
  • Or use lures - Fish caught using lures tend not to be deeply hooked. Using lures with single hooks also reduces any hook-related damage.
2. Minimise injury caused by deep hooking 

If you end up with a deeply hooked fish, it is important that you don’t attempt to remove the hook as you are likely to cause further injury to the fish. Simply cut the line as close as possible to the fish’s mouth and release it. Research has shown that this gives the fish the best chance of survival.  

3. Avoid aggregations 

If you find yourself catching multiple undersized Mulloway, do the right thing and move to a different location. Mulloway, if handled correctly, are likely to survive being released, however they are more sensitive than many other fish species and a small proportion may not survive the experience. Reduce that risk to the undersized fish and move to a different location. 

4. Carry a release weight when fishing from a boat 

Mulloway are particularly sensitive to barotrauma injuries (caused by expansion of gases when fish are caught from deeper water (~10 m +)). If you catch a Mulloway when fishing deeper water and you wish to return it, if it is suffering from barotrauma – release it quickly and use a release weight to return it to depth.  

5. Be aware of best practice handling techniques 

Best practice handling includes a number of techniques that can make a difference to the survival of released fish and includes: handling fish quickly using wet hands or gloves; using a knotless mesh net to minimise injuries; and getting the fish back into the water as quickly as possible – ideally, unhook fish while they are still in the water.  

For tips on maximising fish survival, including reducing barotrauma impacts go to the DPI website: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/fishing-skills/catch-and-release.

Fishers are also reminded that DPI Fisheries Compliance operation ‘Mulloway Assist’ continues along the coast, focusing compliance resources on Mulloway catches across all harvest sectors in estuaries and inshore fishing locations.


Fishcare Needs YOU

Have you ever thought of helping someone catch their first big catch? If you’ve got a passion for fishing and a love of teaching others the importance of protecting our aquatic habitat, then we'd love to hear from you! We are seeking enthusiastic people aged 18 and above who are keen to help teach the next generation the joy of fishing and caring for the environment. Applicants from across NSW are encouraged to apply.  

Training will be undertaken locally. Follow the link to apply - https://bit.ly/37ZjNwd.   

This is all part of ‘Fish for life – Building a healthy fishing future'.

'Keep it clean' when out fishing

DPI always encourages fishers to fish responsibly by keeping their favourite fishing spots clean to reduce the impact of fishing-based litter and marine debris.

Keep an eye out for our new fishing hook and line bins in your local area. The bins, installed and maintained by local councils and volunteer groups in collaboration with DPI, are being installed at fishing hotspots across NSW, making it even easier to do the right thing and put your rubbish in the bin after a day of fishing.

In addition to the hook and line bins, DPI is distributing new, highly visual stickers designed to be installed on council bins at popular fishing locations. These stickers encourage the correct disposal of recreational fishing related litter (fishing line, sinkers, hooks, floats, bait packets and rubbish) at fishing hot spots such as boat ramps, fish cleaning tables, jetties and break walls.

We all have a part to play in minimising environmental impacts when out fishing in your region,so let's all work together to dispose our fishing litter correctly.

To find out more about reducing recreational fishing litter visit https://shorturl.at/krDI6. This is all part of ‘Fish for life – Building a healthy fishing future'.

Improvements in voluntary compliance by fishers targeting Murray Crayfish

Operation Symbion saw 13 inland and coastal Fisheries Officers undertake targeted patrols of the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers over the opening weekend of the Murray Crayfish season and King's Birthday long weekend. For large inland operations like these, coastal officers often provide additional assistance, particularly those in the first year fisheries officer program, as these operations provide important professional development opportunities.

Over 210 boat, riverbank and campsite inspections were conducted over the course of the operation culminating to 689 fishers being checked. Whilst nearly 90% of fishers were found to be doing the right thing, 73 persons were reported for offences ranging from possessing prohibited size Murray Crayfish, possessing crayfish carrying ova and exceeding their possession limits.    

Whilst listed as a threatened species in NSW, strict rules allow a person to take a daily limit of 2 per person, with a possession of no more than 4. Murray Crayfish have a minimum size of 10cm, with a maximum size of 12cm and any Murray Crayfish found outside this slot or found to be carrying eggs under their tail must be returned to the water immediately.  

Murray Crayfish can only be taken in NSW waters from the Murray River between the Hume Weir Wall and the Newell Highway Road Bridge at Tocumwal including Lake Mulwala and the Murrumbidgee River between the Hume Highway Road Bridge at Gundagai and Berembed Weir.


Long Distance Black Marlin Recapture 

With favourable environmental conditions and fantastic inshore fishing opportunities up and down the coast, the warmer months gave many boats and anglers the opportunity to target, catch and tag juvenile Black Marlin. With large numbers of fish being tagged, there was also a significant number of recaptures reported. So far 40 Black Marlin recaptures have been reported for the 2022/23 season which is the highest recapture tally for the species in over 22 years! While many of the recaptures were fish caught close to where they were originally tagged, the program has had some fantastic examples of long-distance movements. One of which features below.

A game fish recapture form was submitted by a fish processor in the Philippines. The fishmonger had received a tag from a deckhand of an international longline vessel who had just returned from a long-distance fishing voyage throughout the Pacific Islands. During this trip, the commercial vessel managed to capture a tagged Black Marlin whilst fishing an area known as the Brumer Trench, which is well south of Baxter Harbour, Papua New Guinea.  

A quick search of the database found that the Black Marlin was tagged offshore of Seal Rocks, NSW. The fish was originally caught on 25 February 2023 by Sydney GFC member, Matt Millauro, who was fishing aboard his family's boat Sammi-Jay. When the fish was initially tagged it was estimated it to be 40kg. Upon recapture the fish weighed 58kg, highlighting an impressive growth rate. The fish spent only 79 days at liberty and was caught over 1247 nautical miles (~2310km) from its original release location. 

Each reported recapture contributes to our understanding of pelagic fish species. If you are lucky enough to recapture a tagged fish, please ensure you report it using our online recapture form https://bit.ly/3XJdHpy

The Game Fish Tagging Program is a great example of your fishing fees at work!

Fishing licence fees re-invested to kickstart endangered Catfish populations!

Thousands of freshwater Catfish have been released into waterways in the Edward Wakool region of south-western NSW to re-establish locally extinct populations of this culturally and recreationally important native species.

The Edward-Wakool Angling Association (EWAA) was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Recreational Fishing Trust to work with key partners to stock Catfish in local creeks and wetlands. EWAA partnered with the Joint Indigenous Group and Western Murray Land Improvement Group with the aim of kickstarting populations of Catfish for both traditional owners and recreational fishers.

The Catfish fingerlings were produced and delivered by Narrabri Fish Farm owner Rick Cunningham. Following acclimation they were released into three key wetlands in the Edward Wakool region – Pollack Lagoon, Swan Lagoon and Merribit Creek. These locations were carefully selected based on cultural significance, habitat and water availability.

Catfish populations in the Murray-Darling Basin have significantly declined since the 1970s due to a range of impacts including invasive species, habitat degradation, cold water pollution and fishing pressure.

Anglers are currently permitted to target Catfish under strict bag and size limits in specified impoundments and eastern flowing rivers, but the species cannot be targeted in any rivers or streams west of the Great Divide.

This is all part of ‘Fish for life – Building a healthy fishing future’.

For more information about the Eel-tailed Catfish in the Murray-Darling Basin, visit https://bit.ly/43Edohw.


2023-24 Survey of Recreational Fishing is commencing

Assessment of recreational fishing in NSW is conducted via the Recreational Fisheries Monitoring Program (RFMP), which undertakes surveys of recreational fishers every 2 years via a telephone-diary survey, as well as monitoring the NSW charter boat fleet.

The 2023-24 telephone-diary survey is about to commence, and aims to find out who goes fishing, how often, where they fish and what they catch. This information will provide indicators that measure how the recreational fishery is performing, and helps inform management and assessment of recreational fisheries.

The success of this work relies heavily on the cooperation of the recreational fishing community in the telephone survey. So, whether you fish a lot or only occasionally, please help out if you are contacted to participate in the survey. Importantly, all research is conducted on a completely voluntary, and confidential basis.

For more information about the RFMP, and to see the outcomes of previous surveys, please visit https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/rfmp

This is your recreational fishing licence fees at work!

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  • mrsswordfisherman changed the title to NSW DPI NEWSCAST Recreational Fisheries News - July 2023

Great to see the innovative Narrandera Fisheries DPI breaking more records relative to their Murray Cod Programs. It will be interesting to see whether their latest initiative has the desired effect. I think it will... time will tell.

Thanks for posting this latest news advice Donna.


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A much-needed boost to Eel-tailed Catfish numbers, in the Murray Darling Basin, is very timely. These fish used to be prolific in South Western NSW rivers but are now acknowledged as being endangered. Great work by Edward - Wakool Anglers and their partners to obtain a grant to restock the region. Would be great to see them get back to decent numbers in the near future.


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