Help bring Estuary Perch back to the Merri
"This project is a great way to increase angler awareness of the importance of habitat for fish. More fish hotels in our rivers means more fish to catch" Merv Hughes, from Merv Hughes Fishing
Estuary perch offer one of the best fishing experiences in south west Victoria. Catching this hard fighting fish is an exciting and rewarding challenge but currently the Merri River through Warrnambool, Victoria has very limited habitat for native fish such as estuary perch.
We’re calling on the community to bring estuary perch back to the Merri River in big numbers. With the addition of fish ‘hotel’ habitat and the improvement of river bank vegetation, the Merri has the potential to become an incredible natural and recreational asset and an exceptional fishing location for the community and visitors to south west Victoria.
Through your support, we can help increase fish habitat – which in turn will significantly boost estuary perch numbers as well as improve angler opportunities.
Thanks to all the supporters of the project so far. We are 1/2 the way to the target! Big thanks to Reeves Bakery, Adz Weld Fabrications and the Midfield Group who pledged $1000+ each to the campaign. They receive naming rights to the first four fish hotels that are installed in the Merri River. If you want to purchase a fish hotel from the 'Merri Reel Estate' a pledge of $1000 will buy a hotel, plaque and also signficant promotion in media.
Darryl Laing at Reeves Bakery with Steve Ryan, thanking Darryl for their $1000 pledge
Other pledges will get you rewards such as fishing packs, books, electrofishing experiences, fishing charters, canoe tours, cultural heritage tours, and much more. Or if you prefer a tax receipt, pledges are also tax deductible through the Australian River Restoration Centre.
Any pledge $20+ also goes into a draw to win a Shimano Nasci 2500 reel and in addition, pledges $50+ also go into a draw to win a Hero GoPro camera!
How The Funds Will Be Used
WITH YOUR FUNDING SUPPORT, THE GLENELG HOPKINS CMA WILL:
- Source and install fish habitat along the lower Merri River including 7 wooden fish hotels and 5 rock hotels
- Every dollar the community contributes up to the target value, the Victorian Government will match two-fold, providing additional habitat and stream bank restoration
- In all, we are seeking $12000 in funding to put towards fish habitat, weed control and river bank tree planting
- As well as the warm fuzzies you’ll get knowing you’ve made a meaningful and lasting difference to your community and local river, donating to the cause allows you to access some excellent rewards including fishing packs, books or experiences such as personalised fishing trips and canoe tours.
Its pretty simple – the more money we raise the more accommodation we can build for our native fish. For example, if we can raise $18,000, we will install a total of 10 wooden and 8 rock hotels.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT ESTUARY PERCH
Estuary perch are a high valued and popular angling species.
Habitat degradation is the primary cause of decline. Populations have become isolated due to urbanisation, desnaggging, changed hydrology as well as climate change.
There is a strong interest from the angling community to increase their recreational experience.
WHAT IS CURRENTLY BEING DONE
This project is just one of many happening on the Merri River to improve river health and angling opportunities. Glenelg Hopkins CMA, Warrnambool City Council, Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare group, Wannon Water, Warrnambool Offshore and Light Game Fishing Club and the Arthur Rylah Institute and a number of local community based groups are carrying out additional works to improve riverbank vegetation and fish habitat. As well as providing essential fish habitat, the works will provide new open points for fishing access and river views.
Our floating fish pontoons upstream of Harris Street bridge have been a great success and we will continue seeking funds to install more upstream.
Last year works were done to install Fish Hotels in the lower Merri River which had an instant response from species such as Estuary Perch, Black Bream, Australian Salmon and mullet. Two 45 cm Estuary Perch were recently caught just around one of the Fish Hotels installed in the lower Merri River estuary! (one of these is in the photo below!)
THERE'S STILL WORK TO BE DONE!
However this is just the start and much more work needs to be done to bring our recreational fish species back in big numbers. The more habitat we put in the river means we can better support our fish populations and improve opportunities for people to catch fish.
This new crowdfunding initiative is not just focusing on anglers but also other recreational users, businesses and tourists that have an interest in improving the health of our local rivers. Local communities and anglers can be very effective in making big changes to the local waterways and through this crowdfunding campaign they can see that their funds are going directly into the waterways they are passionate about.
Instream habitat works will be carried out along the lower Merri River. With the help of public funding, matched by GHCMA matched funding, we’ll source and install 7 wooden fish hotels and 5 rock hotels.
Stream bank planting works will also be carried out as part of revegetation and site preparation.
In all, we are seeking $12000 in funding to put towards instream habitat, weed control and river bank plantings.