Sustainably managing Victoria's snapper stocks
"Victoria has some of the best fishing in Australia."
[Visual overlay : trailer with boat backed down into water, fishers casting their rod]
"To maintain and develop this rich natural resource, Fisheries Victoria draws on the advice of its scientists and the broader community."
[Visual overlay : fisher on his boat reeling in his line and Fisheries scientists at work - jumping in for a dive, in the laboratory and measuring fish.]
"A big highlight of the year for thousands of Victorian anglers is the snapper season."
[Visual overlay : fisher on his boat reels in a mature snapper and it's netted to bring into the boat.]
This fisher says :
"Fantastic! Have a look at that. That's beautiful!"
[Video title appears : MANAGING VICTORIAN FISHERIES - Snapper]
Travis Dowling appears with a super : "Travis Dowling, Executive Director, Fisheries Victoria" and the Altona Pier in the background.
"To ensure snapper season continues to remain sustainable, Fisheries scientists monitor the number of baby snapper coming into Port Phillip Bay after each spawning season."
[Visual overlay : a Fisheries Research boat heads across Port Phillip Bay at dusk.]
Dr. Paul Hamer appears onscreen from within the boat's cabin and with a super "Dr. Paul Hamer, Senior Research Scientist, Fisheries Victoria"
"We've headed out tonight as part of our surveys of a range of sites in Port Phillip Bay. These sites cover the main nursery areas for snapper in central and western Victoria."
[Visual overlay : animated graphic indicating snapper survey sites in Port Phillip Bay]
"What we find from these surveys will tell us about replenishment of snapper populations all the way from Portland to Wilsons Promontory, including Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay."
[Visual overlay : animated graphic indicating the key markers for the Western Stock of Victoria's snapper population. The Eastern stock range is shown too.]
[Visual overlay : a view from the survey boat of Melbourne's city night lights with the super : "Hobsons Bay 1:20 am"]
"We come out at night to survey as this is when the juvenile snapper are more effectively caught by our small trawl net."
[Visual overlay : the Fisheries scientists throw in the small trawl net]
"Over the last 23 years, Fisheries scientists have built up an invaluable database that's allowed us to track long-term variation in the abundance of baby snapper..."
[Visual overlay : looking back out towards the trawl net rope and from within the cabin, the chart plotter and data being written down. Also the trawl net, as seen underwater, dragged over the sea bed]
".. and has also shown us how variable the numbers are from year to year."
[Visual overlay : winching in the trawl net and dragging it back into the boat. Emptying its contents into a plastic tub.]
"Linking this data with other information, gives us an understanding of what natural factors might be influencing these large fluctuations."
Dr Paul Hamer talks to camera from on the boat as the trawl net is emptied.
"One important factor that we've learned about is the influence of the Yarra river flow, particularly during spring. This flow delivers critical nutrients that feed the food chain that supports the baby snapper larvae as they grow."
[Visual overlay : animated graphic showing the nutrient flow from the Yarra river into Port Phillip Bay. Photos showing snapper larvae and baby snapper follow.]
"Another critical factor is the seasonal water temperature dynamics. The eggs and larvae of snapper have strict temperature tolerances and do best between 18 - 22 degrees celsius."
[Visual overlay : animated graphic showing the water temperature dynamics in Port Phillip Bay from July to December.]
Dr. Paul Hamer talks to camera whilst holding a baby snapper.
"So really it's an interaction between these two climate factors which is critical in determining how many baby snapper will survive."
Dr. Paul Hamer measuring a juvenile snapper during the survey.
"So this little fellow here is 26 cm length and that actually means he's probably around about between two and three years of age"
Dr. Paul Hamer talks to camera whilst at the measuring board.
"The snapper take about three to four years to reach the legal minimum size of 28 cm, and approximately six years to reach 40+ cm and enter the adult fishery."
[Visual overlay : underwater footage of snapper swimming about followed by a shot looking toward the Melbourne city lights as the boat heads for shore.]
Dr. Paul Hamer talks to camera from inside the cabin.
"Survey results over the last decade suggest that the recent high catches should start to moderate. However the good news is the last few years of surveys have shown high numbers of baby snapper which means that the long-term forecast for the fishery is highly encouraging."
[Visual overlay : animated graphic with a photo of a mature snapper as background showing adult snapper catch rates and baby snapper recruitment in graph form.]
Travis Dowling on the Altona pier with fishers in the distant background.
"These ongoing assessments by Fisheries scientists ensure that environmentally driven fluctuations in baby snapper numbers are clearly understood. These results are then factored into the long-term sustainable management of Victoria's Snapper fishery that is so important to so many Victorians."
[Victorian State Government Logo]
"Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne."