LOCAL dams have benefited from a bumper production season at the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute with 280,000 Australian bass fry being released.
Tallowa Dam at Kangaroo Valley, Flat Rock Dam at Nowra, Danjera Dam at Yalwal and Jerrara Dam near Kiama have all received the native fish, renowned for its great fighting abilities.
In one of the best production seasons on record at the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute (PSFI), the hatchery was up 130,000 on the number bred in 2011.
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) senior inland fisheries manager, Cameron Westaway, said this year’s bass production at PSFI was the best since 1999.
“This has enabled increased numbers of Australian bass fry to be stocked in 15 dams and lakes from the Hunter to the South Coast,” he said.
“Impoundments well known for bass fishing have been stocked this year, including 65,000 into Kangaroo Valley’s Tallowa Dam.
“Seventy thousand were also released in Glenbawn Dam in the Hunter Valley and 15,000 in Lake Lyell at Lithgow.
“The larger number of fish available this year meant that several smaller dams such as Flat Rock Dam at Nowra, Yalwal’s Danjera Dam and Jerrara Dam west of Kiama have also been stocked.
“Additional bass stockings will take place over coming months when commercial hatcheries supply more than 100,000 bass to fishing clubs and community groups through the dollar-for-dollar stocking program which is supported with funds from the Recreational Fishing Trust.”
DPI inland fisheries manager, Ben Doolan, said production at the hatchery was up by 130,000 this year.
“An early start to the breeding season, coupled with improvements to the breeding method contributed to the hatchery’s success,” Mr Doolan said.
“Fish stockings and breeding improvements are great news for anglers and will help ensure future stocks of this popular fish are maintained for future generations.
“Without the breeding program, Australian bass would disappear from the stocked impoundments as bass are not able to breed in those dams because they cannot migrate downstream into saltwater for spawning.
“In addition to Australian bass, this year DPI hatcheries plan to stock almost three million trout and salmon, and one million native fish into NSW freshwater areas through state government fish stocking programs.”