VRFish steps in to resolve Corio Bay conflict

VRFish, the peak body representing recreational fishers in Victoria has welcomed new measures adopted by Port Phillip Bay commercial fishers over the coming Easter period.

VRFish General Manager, Dallas D’Silva said “Over the last six months VRFish has been discussing a range of potential options with the industry aimed at reducing conflict and improving angler access.”

The new measures adopted by industry include no beach seine netting of the inner harbour at Corio Bay from 2pm on Good Friday to 8pm on Easter Monday. The inner harbour is defined as waters between Point Lillias to Point Henry.

Seine netting is a method that works by encircling the fish and herding them into a bag. The net is set in a U-shape and the catch is then sorted in the water. The new measures will be in the form of an industry code of practice.

Mr D’Silva added “This outcome represents a significant step forward in commercial and recreational fishers working together to address our respective concerns. At times, our meetings have been challenging, but both parties agree to work together more in future.”

The Corio Bay area of Port Phillip Bay is a highly productive region and species such as snapper, gummy shark, bream, calamari, King George whiting, pike and flounder are all classed as sustainable.

A reduction in King George whiting catches was predicted three years ago. This is expected to rise again in the next three years following the high number of westerly winds that helped contribute to the exceptional recruitment event this past summer.

Mr D’Silva added, “These natural variations in recruitment have a far greater influence on the abundance of key species, than the recreational or commercial harvests. VRFish has been calling for more research into the various impacts on fish stocks in bays and inlets across the State, including places such as the Gippsland Lakes and Corner Inlet. We are pleased that a new Fisheries Research and Development Corporation project has been approved for Corio Bay.”

VRFish says it will be actively involved in this research and will continue to work with all stakeholders in a constructive way to achieve quality recreational fishing experiences in Victoria. 

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