The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has recently listed Lake Macquarie on the NSW Central Coast in the ‘trophy’ fishery program, which aims to protect dusky flathead while allowing anglers to experience the thrill of catch and release fishing.
The unique angler driven initiative involves the introduction of voluntary code of practice for the release of ‘trophy’ sized flathead over 70 cm in length and is currently being trialled in St Georges Basin and Tuross Head on the state’s south coast.
The ‘trophy’ fishery program will maximise flathead stocks, provide enhanced angling opportunities and has the potential to increase local tourism.
DPI’s Manager of Recreational Fisheries Programs, Bryan van der Walt said research indicates dusky flathead have a very high survival rate when released.
“The new code of practice will provide detailed information on best practice catch and release techniques, meaning the recreational fishing haven of Lake Macquarie will continue to get better and better,” Bryan said.
“The tagging component of the Lake Macquarie ‘trophy’ fishery has only just started but the program has been successfully running for more than a year in St Georges Basin and Tuross Head.
“Approximately 90 big flathead have so far been tagged on the south coast and this is providing DPI researchers with valuable data.
“All three of the trophy fisheries will be promoted as great spots to go if you want the best chance at catching quality fish.”
Catch and release is recognised as an important means of ensuring the sustainability of recreational fisheries.
More information on the ‘trophy’ fishery program, including the code of practice, can be found on the NSW DPI website.
A video the promoting handling and release of big flathead is available on YouTube.
Source: NSW DPI