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The fish's friend

The fish's friend

John Cooper, fisheries officer, Victorian Department of Natural, Eildon pondage
John Cooper, fisheries officer, Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Eildon pondage. Photo: Nick Drayson.

John Cooper

'I've been a Fisheries Officer in the Alexandra area for going on 17 years. The job requires patrols of the area, the local area of Lake Eildon, the Goulburn River, all its tributaries. We go from Woods Point to Echuca - that's quite a large area.

'The lower parts of the river from Nagambie to Echuca we stock with Murray cod. In Lake Eildon we stock Murray cod and golden perch. Due to river fluctuations we found that the fishing probably hasn't been as sustainable as what it used to be before we had the weir, where we have the water fluctuation. And it's due to surveys that have been carried out by our technical people, that indicated that some sections of the river required stocking to bring it back to its normal regime.'

Left: Fisheries officers Jason Bux and John Cooper talk to fishermen at Eildon pondage. Right: John Cooper inspects a fishing licence, Eildon pondage.
Left: Fisheries officers Jason Bux and John Cooper talk to fishermen at Eildon pondage. Right: John Cooper inspects a fishing licence, Eildon pondage. Photos: Nick Drayson.

Audio and transcript

audio_w15 Listen to more from John on a typical day's work (MP3 221kb)
Duration: 55 seconds

A typical day's work is mainly patrolling the rivers checking for bag limits, catch limits; checking anglers for licences, and mainly keeping an eye on the resource.

I think the fishery is improving. We went through a period where fishing declined, and then from our recent stockings over the last seven to eight years we are now getting the benefits from both salmonids and native fish.

Yes, we do have a clientele now of people who catch and release. We still have the people who like to go and catch a fish and keep the fish that they catch. They sort the fish out and keep the larger one. We do have quite a number of people - and this has been happening more so in the last three to four years - where we have the catch-and-release.