The State Government is encouraging recreational fishers to get back to East Gippsland by giving them the chance at landing a tagged fish worth up to $10,000, thanks to a proposal put forward by local MP, Tim Bull.
East Gippsland has been doing it tough through January with visitor numbers down substantially during what is normally the busiest time of the year due to the summer’s devastating bushfires.
Thousands of Victorians know and love the diverse fisheries in these communities and will soon have an extra incentive to return when the Golden Tag competition casts off.
Mr Bull said he came up with the proposal to try and attract more visitors to the region over the next year, but particularly the winter period.
“The rivers that flow into the Gippsland Lakes provide some great winter fishing opportunities and the estuaries further east like Lake Tyers,
Bemm River and Mallacoota are also terrific options, as are our high country streams,” he said.
“The idea came from a discussion with business owners and is part of a broader plan to lift winter visitation by 20 per cent. I think two of the key areas to achieving this are anglers, as fishing is one of our most predominant winter pastimes, and also corporate conferences.
“It was on this basis I presented the suggestion and detail to Fisheries Victoria, which agreed it was a great idea. An incentive like this will attract anglers across the country and provide a major boost to business along the way.
“The competition will run for 12 months and tagging has already begun – that will result in 1000 fish in the rivers and estuaries of East Gippsland and north east Victoria being money bearing catches.”
The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) will manage the competition.
The first 10 tagged fish to be reported caught by fishers after the competition begins will earn the lucky fisher a $10,000 cheque, with tagged fish beyond the first 10 to be awarded a $2000 cash prize.
Tagged species include, black bream, dusky flathead and King George whiting in East Gippsland, and in the north east, Murray cod, brown trout and rainbow trout.
The competition is expected to bring people back to towns like Mallacoota, Cann River, Bemm River, Orbost, Marlo, Lakes Entrance, Lake Tyers, Omeo, Dartmouth, Mitta Mitta, Corryong, Tallangatta and Bright.
All these places are well known for their inland and estuarine fishing, boasting terrific opportunities for shorebased and boat-based fishers of all skill levels.
The competition will begin in the coming months, dependent on conditions in bushfire-affected areas, with a start date to be set in consultation with Visit Victoria.
IMAGE: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, was the man behind the State Government’s ‘Golden Tag’ fishing initiative, putting forward the fishing proposal to bring back tourists to East Gippsland shortly after the initial bushfire ripped through the region. (PS)