Commercial net fishing in Corio Bay will officially come to an end tomorrow delivering on the Andrews Labor Government's commitment to cease commercial net fishing throughout Port Phillip Bay by 2022.
It will mean more fish like snapper, King George whiting, flathead and calamari will be available for families to catch themselves, with flow-on economic benefits to regional tourism businesses.
In 2016, 33 of 43 licence holders left Port Phillip Bay's commercial net fishery, accepting compensation packages funded through the Labor Government's Target One Millioninitiative. A further licence holder is currently in the process of exiting the fishery.
These 33 licence holders caught 87 per cent of the commercial catch of fish targeted by recreational fishers. Their departure delivered the expected benefits for recreational fishers well ahead of the original eight year time frame.
The remaining nine licence holders may continue to fish using existing methods, including nets, under a strict catch limit. Of those nine, eight elected to stay in the non-net fishery after 2022 using mainly longlines, fishing lines and squid jigs.
The good news for recreational anglers continues with recent research by the Victorian Fisheries Authority confirming another excellent year of juvenile King George whiting settlement in the bay, which should make for terrific fishing from 2019 to 2021 when they grow to a catchable size.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
"We said that all commercial net fishing would be removed from Corio Bay by April 2018 and that's exactly what we've done."
"Our bay fishery is going from strength to strength and removing commercial net fishing will only hasten its development as a mecca for saltwater anglers."
Quote attributable to Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville
"This is great for local recreational fishers – the fishermen I have spoken to tell me there's been a great improvement in fishing with flathead, calamari and whiting being caught regularly."