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Good news for Bream numbers in Gippsland Lakes

by Joel Peterson 21 Oct 2020 22:50 UTC
Juvenile black bream © Joel Peterson

A survey of black bream spawning success in the Gippsland Lakes has recorded its second highest level of the last ten years.

Victorian Fisheries Authority CEO Travis Dowling said the survey results are terrific news for the Gippsland Lakes system, which is now free of commercial net fishing thanks to the State Government's $35 million Target One Million plan.

"These scientific surveys are done annually at 50 sites in the Gippsland Lakes to provide a time series of information about the spawning success of key species," Mr Dowling said.

"Specialised sampling methods during winter catch juvenile black bream less than one year old, which are typically less than 10cm long.

"The abundance of these small bream provides a snapshot of how successful the previous spawning season was and enables fisheries managers to predict the health of the fishery in years to come.

"Spawning variation from year to year is normal and influenced by environmental factors such as river flows and waterway health, however the trend over the last four years is significantly better than the six years prior.

"Black bream take about six years to reach the minimum size of 28cm, which means this relatively strong pulse of small bream will enter the fishery in 2026/27.

"Recreational fishers won't have to wait that long though because the strongest spawning year of the last 10 was in 2017 and those fish will enter the fishery from 2023/24."

Mr Dowling reminded fishers that the Gippsland Lakes Recreational Fishery Plan is currently out for public comment until 28 October.

"The Plan will accelerate the recovery of key species including black bream and dusky flathead and return the lakes to a recreational fishing mecca by improving fish habitat, installing artificial reefs and stocking fish."

To learn more and complete the online survey with your feedback on the Plan, visit

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