The Victorian Coalition Government stocked approximately 300,000 larvae into Lake Tyers in East Gippsland – marking the first time the stocking of prawns has ever been embarked upon in the state.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with Chris Setio and James Smith from the University of NSW, releasing the last of 300,000 prawn larvae into Lake Tyers - a first for Victoria.
Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said the Eastern King Prawns were stocked into Lake Tyers with the help of funds from the sale of Recreational Fishing Licences.
Subject to the future success of the stocking trial, a further one million prawns will be stocked later this year.
'This is very much a stepping stone for Fisheries Victoria, who will assess the success of the stocking to inform future projects of this kind, including fish species,' Mr Bull said.
'Of course in stocking prawns into a waterway like Lake Tyers there comes some risk factor in that if we were to receive a deluge and the entrance opened it would have an impact, however it is seen by Fisheries as a step towards other re-stocking projects.
'The stocking of prawns in Lake Tyers is designed to improve recreational fishing opportunities in the lake and is the first time that prawns have ever been stocked into a Victorian water body,' Mr Bull said.
'Prawn stocking in estuaries elsewhere along the south-eastern Australian coast has been successful in improving recreational fishing opportunities in the past and Fisheries believe similar results can be achieved at Lake Tyers.'
The stocking is being undertaken by the University of New South Wales and overseen by Fisheries Victoria. Scientists from the University of New South Wales have proven experience in stocking prawns into estuaries near Merimbula.
Agriculture Minister, Peter Walsh said Lake Tyers would be temporarily closed to commercial bait fishing until 31 January 2014 to allow the stocked prawns to grow and be available to recreational fishers.
'Recreational fishing makes a significant contribution to the East Gippsland economy, supporting businesses ranging from hotels, petrol stations and supermarkets, to bait and tackle stores.
'There are about 720,000 licensed fishers in Victoria. The Government is committed to improving recreational fishing opportunities across the state and the Lake Tyers prawn stocking is just one of numerous initiatives we are implementing to achieve this goal.'