Gippsland Lakes is now net free

The Victorian Government committed to phasing out commercial fishing in the Gippsland Lakes as part of its Go Fishing Victoria plan (phase two) to improve recreational fishing opportunities.

As of 1 April 2020, all of the 10 remaining Gippsland Lakes commercial net fishers accepted their compensation packages and excited the fishery.

The compensation package consisted of three components:

  1. The market value of the licence;
  2. A fixed allowance for redundant commercial fishing equipment which will remain the property of the licence holders; and
  3. An amount to provide compensation for loss of income based on 3 times the average annual catch value taken under the licence between 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2017.

Removing commercial netting is an important first step to rebuild fish stocks in the lakes.

Our vision is to restore the Lakes as a recreational fishing mecca, attracting thousands of visitors to the region and injecting valuable economic stimulus into hotels, restaurants and local businesses. This will be done through:

  • the development a recreational fishing tourism plan with a focus on events and marketing in regions and towns with specific species;
  • investment in a new on water café on Bullock Island in partnership with the Lakes Entrance Fishermen’s Co-Operative Society will boost local tourism and jobs in Lakes Entrance; and
  • continued investment in science and habitat restoration in the Gippsland Lakes to ensure the environment remains healthy.

The phasing out of the 10 Gippsland Lakes Fishing Access Licences is based on the Marine and Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill 2019.