Media Releases | 30th Jun, 2021

Fishing, boating, environment groups response to Goulburn Valley flow limit

Victoria’s peak fishing, boating and environment groups have welcomed a Victorian government decision to put limits on unsustainably high flows down the Goulburn River in summer and autumn, but are calling for future limits to go further.

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) handed down its decision on a review of the Goulburn inter-valley trade and operating rules today, requiring base flows averaging 1100 megalitres per day – lower than damaging flows seen in recent years.

“This is the first time the government has set limits on average daily flows down the Goulburn to protect the environment and that’s a really positive development,” said Environment Victoria Healthy Rivers Campaigner Tyler Rotche.

“This will prevent the worst damage from recent years when consistently high summer flows supplying irrigation water eroded riverbanks, washed away vegetation and destroyed vital fish habitat. As the government’s scientific report points out, these new limits will give the river a chance to ‘slowly heal’.

“But at the same time the scientific advice also calls for stricter limits on flows down the Goulburn River, which should be set at under 1000 megalitres per day. After this interim trial, we hope permanent limits will be more in line with the science.”

“Whilst this restricts some of the extreme damage of past years, it doesn’t go far enough and has not ruled out higher future flows,” said John Pettigrew from Goulburn Valley Environment Group.

“In the interests of fish habitat, bank protection and how this all impacts boating, fishing and tourism, we are pleased to see daily limits. Our advice was under 1000 ML per day and that would have been preferred, however the interim trial of 1100 ML per day is a good step,” said CEO of Boating Industry Association of Victoria Steve Walker.

“The Goulburn River is Victoria’s most popular fishing river and anything that affects it is a big issue for thousands of recreational fishers right across the state,” said VRFish Executive Officer Ben Scullin.

“In recent years the Goulburn River was used as a giant pipe to flush cold water downstream during summer, playing havoc with fish breeding and destroying our riverine Trout Cod and Murray Cod populations.

“We’re glad the Victorian government has said enough is enough, and we encourage them to go further with stronger limits under 1000 megalitres per day in future seasons.”

Background information: Joint letter from boating, fishing and environment groups on Goulburn River high summer flows

Header image credit: Rexness (Flickr)

For interview and further comment

Tyler Rotche, Environment Victoria, 0439 362 083
Ben Scullin, VRFish, 0416 945 759
Steve Walker, Boating Industry Association of Victoria, 0466 918 368
Roland Huber, Goulburn Valley Association of Angling Clubs, 0428 693 217
John Pettigrew, Goulburn Valley Environment Group, 0428 367 791