After being hard hit by bush fires and COVID, the NSW South Coast is set to benefit from a huge boost to recreational fishing opportunities following the stocking of almost 40,000 juvenile dusky flathead into the Lake Conjola and St Georges Basin Recreational Fishing Havens.
Highly regarded as being one of NSW’s most popular and accessible sport and table fish, duskies are a key target for local and visiting anglers in both RFHs.
NSW DPI Fisheries say "A crew of enthusiastic local anglers – many of whom are involved in DPI’s Trophy Fishery flathead tagging program – assisted with stocking the fish, each of which measured about 25mm in length (although some were quite a bit bigger!). "The stocked duskies should reach legal of 36cm within 2-3 years and have the potential to attain “trophy” sizes of 1m+. "The juvenile flatties were bred by Narooma Aquaculture from wild stock caught on the South Coast with the assistance of volunteer recreational fishers.
"The fish will be monitored by DPI researchers with the help of volunteer citizen scientists. This work is designed to evaluate the growth of the fish, their movements and impact of fish releases on the recreational fishery.
"The flattie stocking events in Conjola and the Basin follows research into dusky breeding and trial stocking operations by DPI’s Port Stephens Fisheries Institute.
"We’re hoping to stock more estuaries along the NSW coast with dusky flathead as our production of these highly popular sportfish expands.
"This project is a great example of anglers, the aquaculture industry and DPI Fisheries working together to increase opportunities for NSW’s $3.4bn recreational fishing sector and the local tackle, charter and tourism businesses which it supports.
"This exciting stocking achievement is a fantastic example of your fishing fees at work! Contributing funding was also provided under the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy."