Fishing club welcomes lakes licence buyouts

Liz Bell

A NEW fishing association in Loch Sport has welcomed the re-elected state government’s promise to improve the health of the Gippsland Lakes.

Secretary of the recently-formed Loch Sport Fishing Association, Craig Holland, said the association was pleased with the success of the campaign to end commercial netting in the Gippsland Lakes, and was looking forward to the waterway’s improved health in years to come.

The re-elected state government has created a new ‘Fishing and Boating’ ministry, headed by Jaala Pulford, which has plans to legislate to compulsorily buyout the final 10 commercial netting licences operating in the lakes.

It willw immediately invest $1.5 million into the Bullock Island fish processing facility as part of a $2.7 million plan to create a tourist attraction based on the Lakes Entrance fishery, and allocate $200,000 to a recreational fishers advisory group.

Mr Holland said the government’s ‘Project One Million’ initiative of building facilities for recreational fishermen was delivering a huge restocking program, with more than six million fish released around Victoria this year, and a program of improving fish breeding habitats in many rivers and lakes.

Ms Pulford has also committed to scrapping boat launching and ramp parking fees around Victoria.

Mr Holland said the move would be “of massive benefit to the tens of thousands of boating fishermen”.

“Loch Sport Fishing Association looks forward to working with the minister and the Victorian Fishing Authority to do what is needed to ‘Make the Gippsland Lakes great again’,” he said.

He said the association, which formed a couple of months ago, already had close to 100 new members and the support of 15 local businesses, and wanted to work to achieve the best facilities and conditions available to enable club members to “safely pursue and enjoy the sport of fishing”.

The association also wants to promote the sustainability of fishing to enable future generations to enjoy the sport, and supports the ideals and activities of the Victorian Fishing Authority, VR Fish and the FutureFish Foundation.

It will encourage family participation in club activities, and hopes to participate in organised fishing activities such as fishing tournaments run by affiliated clubs and associations.

For information visit www.lochsportfishingassociation.com.