In February of this year the ATF released a survey to as many trout anglers as possible in Victoria to ascertain their perceptions of the Victorian wild trout fishery. This survey was partly in response to the Victorian Wild Trout Strategy workshop that was conducted in Lilydale, Vic., in Oct 2019, held to develop a five-year Victorian Wild Trout Strategy.
The survey was sent electronically to approximately 2000 anglers and angling clubs. More anglers may have been invited to respond to the survey via social media links. Aver 750 anglers responded to the survey providing the ATF with valuable baseline data regarding the perception of angler to the Victorian wild trout fishery.
Objects of the Survey
The objects of the report were to:
- Involve recreational fishers in ascertaining thoughts on the status and value of the Victorian wild trout fishery
- Obtain data from anglers regarding the state of Victorian wild trout fishery
- Assist the ATF in targeting appropriate areas in the strategic plan
- Provide information to the VFA regarding anglers’ assessment of the state of the fishery
- Add to the body of knowledge regarding the Victorian wild trout fishery
- Prioritise further research areas for investigation.
- To provide an access point for people wishing to participate in ATF volunteer activities.
- To provide information to other stakeholders including VFA, the Wild Trout Reference Group (WTRG), State Recreational Fishing Roundtable Forum, Catchment Management Authorities and VRFish.
While findings of the survey will be first presented in full to the Victorian Wild Trout Reference Group, a body set up to assist in the management of the Victorian wild trout fishery, general findings from the survey include:
- Support for the introduction of minimum size limits for trout
- Support for the introduction of Blue-Ribbon Streams in the Victorian Wild Trout Fishery
- Importance of the Victorian Wild Trout Fishery to regional Victorian economies
- Angler awareness of the importance of river habitat and riparian repair amongst trout anglers
- Importance of more research to better understand climatic impacts and spawning habits of fish within the wild trout fishery
- Preparedness of many anglers to volunteer to assist in in-stream habitat and riparian repair and restoration of the Victorian wild trout fishery
The opportunities the report presents for the Victorian wild trout fishery include:
- Encouragement to the VFA from identified angler support for greater regulation of the Victorian wild trout fishery
- A more diversified field of research to pursue for greater understanding of the Victorian wild trout fishery and fish habits
- Baseline data regarding perceptions of the quality of the fishery and measure for improvement in ascertaining the success of the Wild Trout Strategy over the next five years
- Extension of the social licence for the wild trout fishery given the importance of it to Victorian regional economies
- Important indication of volunteer preparedness to further the improvement of the Victorian wild trout fishery through targeted volunteer programs and projects
Once the Wild Trout Reference Group has studied the full report it will be released to the general public via the ATF website, VFA, direct email to all respondents and via social media. The ATF would like to acknowledge all the respondents who participated in the survey and also those respondents who indicate they were prepared to volunteer for future ATF environmental projects.
The survey is regarded as a starting point for further information to be obtained from both the scientific research community and the citizen science of those actively involved in the Victorian wild trout fishery. The combination of these two elements conducted as a joint angling community exercise would prove beneficial to the knowledge and sustainability of the fishery into the future, at a time when it is coming under increasing pressure from angling numbers and climate change. Furthering knowledge of the fishery from scientific and practical perspectives can only assist in the sustainability of the fishery into the future. The ATF will play a significant role in both areas to further its purpose of building, protecting and promoting Victoria’s and Australia’s trout fishery.