The Hon. PETER PRIMROSE: My question is to the Minister for Mineral Resources, and Minister for Fisheries. What has been done to improve our State's prestigious Snowy lakes trout fishing?
The Hon. EDDIE OBEID: In May last year after extensive community consultation the New South Wales Government introduced a plan to better manage trout fishing in the Snowy Mountains. This strategy includes Lake Jindabyne, Lake Eucumbene and Tantangara Reservoir. All local businesses and anglers had been concerned for some time about rainbow trout catches. A survey funded by freshwater anglers found that this prestigious fishery is worth up to $70 million a year. Each year 34,000 anglers visit this world-recognised region. The Snowy lakes trout strategy provides sensible measures to make sure that this fishery remains the best in Australia and that it continues to attract visitors, who support local businesses. The strategy protects spawning trout and reduces bag limits, making sure that all anglers get a fair chance to catch a fish. And we are working with the community in regard to New South Wales Government fish stockings. We have given a five-year guarantee of consistent trout stocking. That has never been done before. Each year Lake Eucumbene gets 150,000 rainbow trout fingerlings. Lake Jindabyne gets 50,000 rainbow trout fingerlings, 200,000 Atlantic salmon fry and 50,000 brook trout fry. The Tantangara Reservoir will remain a wild brown trout fishery.
I am pleased to advise the House that our strategy has been hailed as an outstanding success. The Snowy Mountains Lakes Working Group was established in December 2000 to help us develop this strategy. Last month its members met with the Director of NSW Fisheries in Cooma to review the progress and the implementation of the strategy. Representatives from the tackle and tourism industries, the Monaro Acclimatisation Society, angling media and the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Authority all attended the meeting. I am advised that the group was unanimous in its praise for the strategy, stating that it was the best thing to happen to the fishery for 20 years—high praise indeed from the Snowy Mountains trout industry. Large rainbow trout are now being caught consistently in Lake Eucumbene and a bumper summer season is being forecast. This year's rainbow trout spawning run was the best for many years—more great news for anglers, visitors and local businesses. The success of this strategy is a magnificent achievement for New South Wales.