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Trout Stocked in South-West Waterway

AUSTRALIA - The Brumby Government is stocking 8000 brown trout into Merri River this year to enhance fishing opportunities for recreational anglers in the south-west, a 700 increase on last year.

Visiting the Merri River’s Bromfield Weir at Warrnambool, Minister Responsible for Fisheries, Joe Helper, said fish stocking helped boost fish populations for recreational fishing.

"The Brumby Government is taking action to boost tourism in regional Victoria and recreational fishing provides millions of tourist dollars for many regional businesses and has flow-on benefits for regional communities," Mr Helper said.

"The Merri River contains some of the largest riverine trout in Victoria, rivalling many better known south-west lakes in terms of size and quality."

Mr Helper said each year Fisheries Victoria released up to 400,000 rainbow trout, brown trout and Chinook salmon into Victoria's public waterways.

"Most of these trout and salmon are stocked into lakes and impoundments but some are released into rivers like the Merri where they do extremely well," he said.

"The Brumby Government recognises the importance of the fish stocking program because it provides an opportunity for all Victorians to get out and catch a fish."

Mr Helper said the brown trout released into the Merri River were grown at the Department of Primary Industries’ Snobs Creek fish production facility and transported in specially designed trucks.

"These trucks travel over 100,000 kilometres every year delivering fish to publicly accessible waters where they are mostly likely to survive, grow and be caught," he said.

"At the time of release, most trout are yearlings weighing between 50 and 150 grams each.

"In productive water like the Merri River, these fish reach weights of over one kilogram in their second year of life. Some of the longer lived trout grow to over 2kg and live for three or four years."

As part of the trout regulations review in 2006, the reaches of the Merri River open all-year round were extended upstream to the Bromfield Weir, opening up a further 8km of river that would have otherwise been closed during the annual trout closure on rivers during winter.

Ellen Hardy

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