Boost for native Bass
Published: 19 December 2023

Boost for native Bass

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (CMA) along with Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) and community members recently released 10,000 native migratory Bass into Traralgon Creek. 

“We were delighted to partner with VFA and the community to release this next generation of native fish into the system,” said Martin Fuller, CEO of West Gippsland CMA.  

Over the past two decades, the CMA has been working with Traditional Owners, landholders, partners and community to improve the health of the catchment to allow these fish to thrive. This Bass stocking is only made possible by this work to secure environmental flows and improve river health.  

“We see this release as one that represents hope for the river. Bass were recently listed as ‘rare’ in Victoria and the VFA’s stocking program, along with water for the environment, mean they are now off the Threatened Species list. “ 

Over their life, the young fish will make their into Durt’Yowan (Latrobe River) where the CMA has fenced off stock, planted native vegetation and, for over a decade, has delivered water for the environment to provide conditions native fish need.  

Water for the environment is set aside in major reservoirs and carefully released down rivers to support their health. The water can also be diverted into the lower Latrobe wetlands. 

Bass are native migratory fish that need specific large water flows in late winter and early spring to cue spawning and migration. Over time, changes to the river for irrigation, water supply and other needs mean that these conditions now happen very rarely – so we give them a hand with deliveries of environmental water that mimic what would happen naturally. Floods in 2021 produced the most recent spawning event since the 1980s and it is hoped that this next event will also give the Bass population a boost.  

While water for the environment can’t replace natural breeding cues, it can provide the right conditions to help these young Bass to grow and survive. It will also support the health of adult fish and promote breeding when conditions are right. 

The Victorian Government is delivering a $248 million investment into improving waterway and catchment health across Victoria, including flagship waterway sites. 

This ‘King of the River’ video gives you a great insight into the release of the native Bass.