Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Portland Bay netting consultation underway

RECREATIONAL and commercial fishers can have their say on proposed changes to commercial fishing regulations in Portland Bay, with a two-week consultation period beginning today.

As a result of community concern regarding recent commercial netting activity, the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) is calling for submissions from fishers and the local community on a draft Fisheries Notice to exclude netting and long-line fishing from within Portland Bay.

Portland is one of the state’s most popular recreational fishing destinations, famous for its offshore tuna as well as King George whiting, snapper, flathead squid and summer kingfish in Portland Bay. Several commercial fishers also operate out of Portland, providing fresh, Victorian seafood to consumers across the state.

An informal agreement between local commercial and recreational fishers not to net in Portland Bay has been in place for many years, and the draft Fisheries Notice would formalise that agreement.

The proposal would prohibit the use of mesh, seine and trawl nets as well as long lines in specified waters in and around Portland Bay, from Point Danger to the Fitzroy River.

Waters between Portland Harbour and Point Danger are already closed to all recreational and commercial abalone and rock lobster fishing and commercial and recreational netting, in response to a recent Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis detection in the area.

The draft Fisheries Notice also proposes a commercial catch limit for yellowtail kingfish in Portland Bay of 50 kilograms per day. No changes to kingfish bag or size limits for recreational fishers are being proposed.

Victorian Fisheries Authority CEO Travis Dowling said the changes would not impact recreational and cultural fishing practices and commercial fishers outside of Portland Bay.

“We work closely with the commercial and recreational sectors and we’re committed to ensuring Portland remains a first-class fishing destination for years to come,” Dowling said.

“We welcome the thoughts of fishers and the community to help shape the future of fishing in Portland Bay.”

Consultation will run for two weeks, through until Monday, September 25. For more information and to make a submission head to www.vfa.vic.gov.au/consultation

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