The decision to end commercial net fishing in Port Philip Bay is being hailed as “the dawn of a new era” for recreational fishing in Victoria, Australia.
The bay provides fishing for around half of the state’s recreational anglers, who will now have access to an additional 600 tons of fish per year following the removal of 35 netting licences over the last eight years.
The Andrews Labour government pledged to end commercial net fishing in the bay in 2014 as part of a $71 million investment to improve recreational fishing and get more people fishing more often.
Driven by the fact that recreational fishing is worth more than $3.9 billion to the state’s economy, the government has spent $27 million on transforming the bay’s commercial fishing industry to a hook and line snapper fishery.
To assist businesses and workers impacted by the transition, the Victorian Fishing Authority will determine how government can provide support during this period.
“Ending commercial netting in Port Phillip was a promise we made when we were elected eight years ago, and it’s a promise we’ve kept, signalling a bright future for fishing in Victoria,” said the Minister for Fishing and Boating, Melissa Horne.
“We have listened to recreational fishers who were seeing fewer fish in Port Phillip Bay as a result of commercial trawling and have worked to maintain the right balance between what that sector wants, while still ensuring a robust alternative supply of fresh seafood for Victorians.”