Milestone reached for Cressbrook Dam fish habitat project
Creating habitat to attract fish and improve recreational fishing
Posted on 14.11.2019
A major milestone has been reached in a project to create habitat to attract fish and improve recreational fishing in Toowoomba’s Cressbrook Dam.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said more than half of the 700 fish attracting structures planned for Cressbrook Dam had been deployed.
“A total of 200 fish attractors were deployed in Cressbrook Dam today with an additional 30 to be installed by the end of November to complement the 274 structures already in the dam,” Mr Furner said.
“These additional attractors will bring to 504 the total number of structures placed in the dam since the first installations in September 2018.
“The different type of attractors, including PVC trees, spiders, brush bundles and georgian cubes, play different roles in the type of fish they attract and work in combination to provide a realistic habitat for a variety of fish.
“Anglers are getting a real benefit from the attractors, and sounder equipment located around the installed attractors have recorded plenty of fish marks.
“Signage installed at Cressbrook Dam informs anglers where to fish and is updated regularly to reflect new installations.”
Mr Furner said an Australian-first design for fish attractors was among the structures being installed in Cressbrook Dam.
“Suspended fish attractors are purpose designed to provide fish with year round shelter regardless of the dam water level or variations in the water’s temperature and oxygen levels,” Mr Furner said.
“Although the concept of using floating structures to provide shelter is not new, the use in freshwater dams of suspended fish attracting structures constructed from synthetic materials is a first for Australia.
“The innovative design and construction of the suspended fish attractors will mimic large branching tree trunks which attract some species of fish.
“Marked by distinctive orange floats, the suspended fish attracting structures are designed to sit at a fixed depth below the surface, typically between 2 and 5 metres, regardless of the dam water level.”
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said the project is a win for our region and provides a real opportunity to improve the fish habitat of Lake Cressbrook.
“This Australian-first project could benefit local anglers and provide extra incentive for visitors to travel to our region, stay in our towns and enjoy some recreational fishing,” Mayor Antonio said.
“This Habitat Enhancement Research Project is a wonderful collaboration between the Queensland Government, Toowoomba Regional Council, the Australian Government’s Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and local angling and fish stocking groups.
“We can’t wait to see more people visiting our region and enjoying the recreation of our dams and open spaces.
“The study has hit the halfway point and the next step will be to promote our dams and encourage anglers come to our region and hopefully go home with fewer stories about the one that got away.”
Mr Furner said the fish attractors were part of a $950,000 program to improve recreational angling and regional tourism.
“The Habitat Enhancement Research Program is a series of three projects funded by contributions from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Australian Government’s Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, local councils and local angling and fish stocking groups,” Mr Furner said.
“Data from sonar surveys, twice yearly electrofishing surveys, targeted angling and monthly creel surveys will help improve knowledge of which structures are working best and this knowledge will be applied to further improve recreational angling and tourism in areas where fish attractors have been installed.
“Fish attracting structures have also been installed in Mount Morgan Dam No 7 near Rockhampton and Mackay’s Kinchant Dam which, like Cressbrook Dam, is part of Queensland’s Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS).
“Recreational anglers wishing to fish in Queensland’s 63 stocked impoundments require a SIPS permit to fish with a line.”
Details about SIPS can be found at qld.gov.au/recreation/activities/boating-fishing/rec-fishing/dams
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
The Honourable Mark Furner
See also Fishing
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