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Lake Sorell – Reminder about Special Closure

by Sarah Graham
This is a reminder to anglers that Lake Sorell is closed for fishing. It was closed at the start of the 2010-11 angling season and will most likely remain closed next season. To avoid disappointment, anglers might instead consider going to Lake Crescent which is open for fishing.

The Director of Inland Fisheries, John Diggle ordered the closure of Lake Sorell this season due to the outbreak of juvenile carp last summer. This special closure is enabled under the Inland Fisheries (Delay or Prevention of Spread of Controlled Fish) Order 2003.

The restriction covers public access to Lake Sorell and on land surrounding the lake down to its high water mark as wells the outlets of both Lakes Sorell and Crescent, and on land around these outlets below their high water marks. It applies to all activities that might result in contact with the water, including hunting, angling, boating, wading and swimming.

The special closure is required to support the Service in its work to control carp in the lake after the spawning that occurred in 2009-10. The work has involved a major operation to capture thousands of juvenile carp resulting from the 2009-10 spawning, as well as to prevent any further spawning this season by the small number of remaining adults in the lake. This focus by the Service will continue during the 2011-12 angling season and require the ongoing closure of the lake until further notice.

The Service is sorry for any disappointment resulting from the closure but is working hard to eliminate carp from Lake Sorell and return this fishery to its once premier status. The Service needs to be able to get on with the job of catching and removing these fish, without interference to survey or fishing equipment, or increasing the risk of fish translocation to other waters.

Carp, a noxious pest fish, were discovered in the Sorell – Crescent lake system in 1995, and the Service has waged an extensive war against the pest ever since. The Service’s Carp Management Program, which has been running for the past 15 years, has pioneered a range of successful techniques for the monitoring and capture of carp in the Tasmanian environment.

To date, carp have been contained to these two lakes (one system), thousands of fish have been removed, and the probability that carp have now been completely eradicated from Lake Crescent is very high. No further fish have been caught at Lake Crescent since the last female was captured in 2009 and no spawning observed for the past four seasons.

The carp team's sights are now firmly set on the population of carp in Lake Sorell. The next two seasons offer a window of opportunity to capture as many of the juvenile carp before they reach maturity and have the potential to spawn. However it’s also critical to attend to the remaining adult population and prevent them from spawning, particularly given the vast areas of wetlands in Lake Sorell which provide ideal spawning habitat.