Climate change and exotic species harmful for trout

TROUT MEETING: Aussie Fly Fisher's Josh Hutchins addresses the gathering at Bathurst Panthers for the NSW Trout Strategy on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 051618ctrout
TROUT MEETING: Aussie Fly Fisher's Josh Hutchins addresses the gathering at Bathurst Panthers for the NSW Trout Strategy on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 051618ctrout

In an initiative to future-proof NSW’s recreational trout fishery, members from the fishing community from across the region and state met at Panthers Bathurst to discuss the positives and negatives that are facing fishing.

Recreation fishing in NSW generates about $3.4 billion of economic activity each year and contributes around $250 million annually to inland NSW. 

However, there are many issues facing fishing in NSW, in particular recreational trout fishery, including drought, climate change, unseasonal rainfall and harmful or exotic species. 

Department of Primary Industries senior fisheries inland manager Cameron Westaway said these are issues that need to be raised with the fishing and wider community. 

“Climate change is probably the biggest issue facing us,” he said.

“We’re learning how to combat that, by rehabilitating fish to other locations. 

“When water temperatures go over 20 degrees, it presentsse a danger to fish.

“Temperatures anywhere between 10 to 17 degrees are suitable for fish.” 

Water temperature data from the Turon River, near Sofala, indicates average summer water temperatures in what is a historic trout fishery area to be exceeding the temperature avoidance threshold for trout for around four months of the year. 

Over the past 10 years, water temperatures have reached above the lethal range during the period. 

Mr Westaway said roughly 30 people attended the meeting at Bathurst, with similar numbers at an identical meeting at Armidale on Tuesday.

“It’s a long way for many people to travel, especially for the fishers based in Sydney,” he said.

“We spoke at both meetings about how certain species affect trout including redfin perch and carp but carp is a separate issue entirely.

“We need to address ways that we can address these harmful fish and the impact on trout.”

Redfin and carp can significantly impact trout and native fish by preying heavily on newly stocked trout and small native species, by overcrowding which leads to an increase of sedimentation and the spread of disease.