Trees

Big roll up to Avenel Fish Circus

Around 300 people enjoyed Goulburn Broken CMA’s Fish Circus in Avenel on Saturday, September 12, which aimed to raise awareness of threats to the endangered Macquarie perch population in Hughes Creek.

Goulburn Broken CMA River Health Officer Christine Glassford said it was fantastic to see so many people enjoying the warm weather while learning more about the creek and the aquatic life it supported.

“The kids loved the face painting and craft activities, keeping Landcare representatives Janet Hagan and Cathy Olive busy, while Jenny Wilson painted more than 80 faces during the day,” she said. “The other hits with kids were the jumping castle and fish game with Fern Hames from Arthur Rylah Institute.

Ms Glassford said local community member Dave Palmer had come up with the idea for a carp fishing competition.

“David raised his concern about the large numbers of carp in the Hughes Creek following a fishing trip a year ago where he was able to catch nothing else,” Ms Glassford said. “Although only two carp were caught during the actual fishing competition, many enthusiastic anglers attempted to catch a carp, and four more carp ended up being caught later in the day.”

Ms Glassford thanked the Steers family for allowing the Goulburn Broken CMA to hold the event on their property. Belinda Steers said the family was pleased to be involved and help raise awareness of the Hughes Creek project.

“The day was a lot of fun; everyone around town is still talking about it,” Ms Steers said. “Everyone is mentioning the possibility of it running again next year. We really enjoyed being a part of the day.”

Ms Glassford said she was grateful to everyone that contributed to make the day a huge success.

“Representatives from Arthur Rylah Institute, Waterwatch and Turtles Australia said there was a great deal of interest in their displays and a lot of questions and discussion,” she said. “MC Peter Flaherty kept the day moving along and Andrew Allen provided the live music, which created a great atmosphere. “A highlight was hearing Keith Bell talk about the physiology of carp and seeing him demonstrate how to fillet carp to get the best tasting meat from them. Everyone that tasted the cooked carp enjoyed it and often went back for more.  Keith estimated more than 230 servings of carp were dished out on the day.”

The Hughes Creek Project is being run as part of the Goulburn Broken CMA’s On-ground Works Program with funding from the Victorian Government. The Hughes Creek is a stronghold for the nationally endangered Macquarie perch, which was once abundant and widespread across Victoria and New South Wales but has declined dramatically since the 1920s.  The species is currently listed nationally as Endangered (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) and listed as a threatened species under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.

“A key task of the day was to increase awareness of Macquarie perch and other aquatic life in the Hughes Creek, which I think was achieved in this informal atmosphere,” Ms Glassford said. “With improved community understanding, we hope to gain more community support to manage the threats to this species. Competition and predation from introduced species such as carp has been highlighted as one threat, hence this event encouraging anglers to actively fish for carp. As well as proposing an annual Clean Up Carp event, landholders with frontage to the Hughes Creek or its tributaries are encouraged to work with the CMA to protect streamside vegetation to improve instream habitat for Macquarie perch.”

For more information on how you can become involved, please contact Christine Glassford at Goulburn Broken CMA’s Yea office on 5797 4400 or email christineg@gbcma.vic.gov.au