Recreational fishers are being lured back to bushfire-affected areas by giving them the chance at landing a tagged fish worth up to $10,000.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) will manage the competition, which will run for 12 months, and has already begun tagging up to 1,000 fish in the rivers and lakes of East Gippsland and north east Victoria.
The first 10 tagged fish to be reported caught by fishers after the competition begins will earn the lucky fisher a $10,000 cheque, with tagged fish beyond the first 10 to be awarded a $2,000 cash prize.
The Victorian Government acknowledges that recreational fishing in the north east and Gippsland is worth more than $600 million annually, supports over 3,800 jobs and is a major contributor to regional communities that depend on tourism.
These communities have been doing it tough through January with visitor numbers down substantially during what is normally their busiest time of the year due to the summer’s devastating bushfires.
Thousands of Victorians know and love the diverse fisheries in these communities and will soon have an extra incentive to return when the Golden Tag competition casts off.
Minister for Fishing and Boating Jaala Pulford said; “We want to get people back to East Gippsland and the north east with family and friends, spending money and helping local communities get back on their feet.
“The Golden Tag competition is a way to encourage fishers to visit waterways – some for their first time and others because they’ve loved the place for decades and have fond childhood memories.”
Tagged species include, black bream, dusky flathead and King George whiting in East Gippsland, and in the north east, Murray Cod, brown trout and rainbow trout.
The competition will bring people back to towns like Mallacoota, Cann River, Bemm River, Orbost, Marlo, Lakes Entrance, Lake Tyers, Omeo, Dartmouth, Mitta Mitta, Corryong, Tallangatta and Bright.
The competition will begin in the coming months, dependent on conditions in bushfire affected areas, with a start date to be set in consultation with Visit Victoria. For more information visit vfa.vic.gov.au/goldentag.