Mount Morgan Dam could become the new fishing hot spot.
Mount Morgan Dam could become the new fishing hot spot. Tamara MacKenzie ROK070113tkmorg

'Fish hotels' hope to lure in tourists to Mount Morgan

"FISH hotels" are expected to lure tourists to Mount Morgan; hook, line and sinker.

The habitats were part of a two-pronged submission to the Rockhampton Regional Council, and aim to boost recreational fishing and angler-based tourism at the historic town's No. 7 Dam.

The site traditionally supplied the town's water, but Community Engagement officer Wade Clark told the Rockhampton Regional Council's ordinary meeting the dam could offer so much more.

He said could become a back-up fishing location if wind speeds are excessive along the coast and river, and target grey nomads, kayakers and recreational fishers.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries identified Mount Morgan as one of four sites across Queensland for projects to benefit from habitat enhancements including fish hotels, porcupine cribs and brush, tree and rock habitats as well as PVC structures.

The region's recreational fishing came to the fore in 2015 when the Queensland Government declared net free zones at the Fitzroy River and a significant proportion of Keppel Bay.

A "citizen science model" will also be employed to collect data from volunteer taggers and groups to feed into the Crystal Bowl Monitoring Program in the Fitzroy River.

The projects form part of the Rockhampton Recreational Fishing Development Strategy which council adopted in September 2016.

Of the 35 projects, of high priority are the new North Rockhampton and Quay St boat ramps and a new/relocated boat ramp at Port Alma.

Councillor Tony Williams said enhancing the region's appeal as a local, national and international fishing destination had the potential to put Rockhampton on the map.

Cr Rose Swadling became reminiscent of her own experiences fishing in the river, and revelled in the opportunity to "reinvent" and create a new cultural opportunity for the younger generation.

Mayor Margaret Strelow said the strategy aligned with council's overarching goal to grow cultural and eco-tourism, noting the structured approach to upgrading and enhancing Mount Archer.

She conceded council had neglected elements of the region's natural beauty and "sat back and let our beautiful beach be the focus".

Council approved a submission for $91,000 over three years to co-fund the joint DAF project for the fish habitats at Mount Morgan's No 7 Dam, and a further $10,000 towards the Crystal Bowl Monitoring Program in the Fitzroy River.

DAF will also contribute in-kind $216,000 towards the No 7 Dam project, with other stakeholders contributing $90,000.



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