Value of rec tuna fishery added up

VICTORIA’S Coalition Government, along with the Glenelg Shire Council, has commissioned a study to assess the economic value of the recreational southern bluefin tuna fishery to South West Victoria, and in particular, the Portland community.

Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said while southern bluefin tuna
supported a significant commercial fishery in South Australia, it was also highly valued by the recreational sector in Victoria.

“The recreational southern bluefin tuna fishery provides significant flow-on benefits to the
Portland community and wider regional economy,” Walsh said.

“The Victorian Government and Glenelg Shire Council believe it is important to quantify that economic contribution to help guide future planning, infrastructure development and policy and decision making in relation to this highly valuable resource.”

Walsh said recreational SBT fishing had increased considerably over recent years, with up to 300 trailer boats observed operating out of Portland in 2011 and 28 charter boats operating out of the region.

“However the significance of recreational fishing for southern bluefin tuna is poorly
understood and quantified and has not been recognised in the national allocation of the global southern bluefin tuna catch limit by the Federal Labor Government,” Walsh said.
The minister said the study would help reveal the total economic value of recreational southern bluefin tuna fishing by both charter operators and private fishers to the Portland community and the regional economy.

“As well as providing the data and analysis to ensure informed, evidence-based planning and investment decisions are made, the study will play an important role in informing resource sharing decisions to secure a long term share of the southern bluefin tuna fishery for recreational fisheries,” Walsh said.

The study was expected to be finalised later this year. The Victorian Government will also be working with the federal government to secure long term access to the southern bluefin tuna resource for recreational fishers.

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