The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) and representatives of recreational fishers and outdoor gear traders have expressed deep concerns regarding water flow management in the lower Goulburn River. The conversation, initiated by Steven Threlfall, sheds light on the complex interplay of natural rain events, managed flows from Lake Eildon, environmental flows for fish spawning and other environmental benefits, and Intervalley Transfers (IVTs) for downstream consumption and agriculture.

Over the past 12 months, the region has experienced significant flooding and high-flow river conditions, negatively impacting economic outcomes and fishing conditions. The timing of water releases, especially with the approaching opening of the Murray Cod season on December 1st, has raised questions about the decisions made by authorities. Businesses in the Goulburn Murray Valley have faced challenges, with limited access to fishable river heights, resulting in economic downturns.

Steven Threlfall (Trelly), on behalf of AFTA and the community, has engaged with government departments for many years to address these concerns. While there have been welcome adjustments to the timing of environmental flows in response to community feedback, the same consideration has not been extended to Inter Valley Transfers (IVTs). This raises questions about the overall balance between environmental goals and the needs of businesses and recreational activities.

The community acknowledges the efforts made in adjusting environmental flows but urges authorities to consider similar adjustments for IVTs. The lack of alignment between natural and managed water flows and their impact on businesses and recreational activities underscores the need for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to water management.

AFTA and the community look forward to continued engagement with decision-making authorities to ensure a balanced and sustainable approach to water flow management that supports both environmental goals and the livelihoods of those in the Goulburn Murray Valley.