Changes finalised for Portland Bay netting

16 October 2023

Commercial netting has been banned in Portland Bay as part of changes to fishing regulations which come into effect today.

Following public consultation that saw more than 300 submissions received, the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) has implemented a Fisheries Notice to formalise a long-standing agreement between recreational and commercial fishers not to net in the bay.

The Fisheries (Portland Bay Netting) Notice 2023 prohibits the use of mesh, seine and trawl nets in waters in and around Portland Bay, from Point Danger to the Fitzroy River, among several changes to commercial fishing rules.

Two amendments were made to the regulations proposed during consultation, which proposed longlines with 200 hooks be prohibited and a commercial take of 50 kilograms of yellowtail kingfish per day. The new Portland Bay regulations allow the use of shorter longlines with up to 50 hooks but restricts all commercial take of yellowtail kingfish.

The exclusion of commercial fishing for yellowtail kingfish is due to their status as a high-value recreational species and so stocks remain strong for years to come.

Portland also offers terrific recreational fishing opportunities for offshore tuna as well as King George whiting, snapper, flathead and squid in Portland Bay.

Several commercial fishers will continue to operate out of Portland, providing fresh, Victorian seafood to consumers across the state. Some commercial hook and line fishing will remain permitted within Portland Bay, including using the 50-hook longlines.

VFA CEO Travis Dowling said the majority of fishers and community members who had their say on the draft Fisheries Notice were supportive of the changes.

“We thank commercial and recreational fishers and peak bodies, community organisations and the local community for having their say on the proposed regulations,” he said.

“Portland Bay is a much-loved destination for recreational fishers and their families from across the state and this will help ensure it continues to provide top-class fishing opportunities for future generations.”

Existing recreational fishing rules remain, including an area between Portland Harbour and Point Danger which is closed to all abalone and rock lobster fishing, and commercial and recreational netting, after a detection of Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis in August.