Dusky Flathead Stocking To Boost Flourishing Fishery

Wild populations of one of Victoria’s most prized recreational species have been given a lift thanks to the fourth year of dusky flathead stocking in East Gippsland.

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) Chief Executive Officer Travis Dowling said the fourth year of stocking would bolster numbers of the much-loved fish, found throughout Gippsland’s estuaries.

“We began our dusky flathead stocking program as a result of the Gippsland Lakes Recreational Fishery Plan in 2021 and it was identified as being a big part of returning the lakes to their former glory as a recreational fishing mecca,” he said.

“In four years we’ve stocked more than 155,000 duskies into the Gippsland Lakes and further east, which is great news for fishers and for local businesses that rely on tourism.”

Stockings in recent weeks included the Gippsland Lakes (16,100 fingerlings), Bemm River (2,500) and at Gypsy Point near Mallacoota (2,500), forming a key part of the VFA’s nation-leading fish stocking program.

The fingerlings are expected to take two to three years to grow to catchable size, which for dusky flathead is within a slot limit of 35 and 55 centimetres to protect larger, breeding females.

Broodfish were captured near Mallacoota in January with the help of volunteer anglers and transported to a marine hatchery where they spawned and larvae were reared to fingerling size over seven to eight weeks.

The Gippsland Lakes Recreational Fishery Plan followed the removal of commercial net fishing in the Lakes in 2020 and delivered on a commitment of the Victorian Government’s $35m Go Fishing plan.

The Government is investing a further $96m to continue to improve fishing, boating, piers and aquaculture across the state, with including boat ramp and jetty upgrades at Metung, Lakes Entrance and Raymond Island, an aquaculture trial to support Victoria’s first indigenous-run aquaculture farm and another year of record fish stocking.

Ahead of Easter, the VFA is running a competition offering a $1000 tackle voucher to the first fisher who lands a dusky flathead of a metre or more within the Gippsland Lakes.

/Public Release. View in full here.