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To: Victorian Premier, MPs, Victorian Liberal Party, Victorian Labor Party, the Greens, Australian Country Alliance

Celebrate Victoria's Commercial Fisheries and Seafood Industry

Celebrate Victoria's Commercial Fisheries and Seafood Industry

Do not implement the compulsory buy back of Victorian commercial net fishing licences in Port Phillip Bay, instead commit to working with the commercial fishing industry and all stakeholders to resolve what is and always has been (over the past 170+ years) a resource sharing issue.

On 14 November, the Victorian Labor Party announced an election commitment to remove commercial net fishing in Port Phillip Bay within an 8 year timeframe. This commitment will remove the right of the Victorian Community to access a public resource of fresh, local, sustainable seafood, which is currently supplied by the communities commercial fishers.

This issue is a resource sharing issue, which has now been turned into poorly thought out policy for political expediency by both parties.

Claims are that this will significantly improve the experience for approximately 750,000 recreational fishers in Victoria, which is definitely not the case. Victoria currently has 5.8million odd residents, therefore we question where will the remaining 5.1million Victorians source fresh local seafood, if fishing is removed from Port Phillip Bay? The resource belongs to the entire Victorian Community, those that cannot or do not fish are entitled to access fresh fish via commercial fishermen. Where will the 700 odd tonnes of seafood being removed from Victorian plates come from?

We seek this decision be reconsidered and the community have a say in the access to the public resource, rather than allocating it to a minority. These decisions need to be implemented through proper science-based fisheries management. Victoria's bay and inlet fisheries are among the most sustainable fisheries in the world, support and celebrate your commercial fishers and the seafood industry!

Why is this important?

Victoria’s Bay and Inlet commercial fisheries have been operating sustainably for over 170 years, yet the industry finds itself under significant pressure from ill-conceived calls for removal of commercial fisheries from Port Phillip Bay.

Removing commercial netting operations will not improve catch rates for recreational fishers, instead it will increase competition between recreational fishers and promote the fresh fish illegal black market.

The Victorian commercial fishing industry has an excellent record in regards to sustainability and environmental management. The Australian Conservation Foundation has independently assessed Port Phillip Bay commercial fisheries as ‘sustainable’. These fisheries are recognised as some of the best managed and sustainable fisheries in the world, yet we find ourselves with political decisions removing legal operators.

In other countries throughout the world local communities celebrate the ability to access fresh locally caught seafood, it is a major part of their culture and contributes massively to their tourism appeal, while also providing food security. The seafood industry continues to question why governments do not undertake these celebrations here, where we know the fisheries are sustainable?

You will no longer be able to walk into your local fish retailer or fish and chip shop and select the freshest, local product. This political decision will see massive reductions in the availability of King George Whiting, Bream, Garfish, Pike, Southern Calamari, Australian Salmon, Pilchards and Flounder, caught in Port Phillip Bay being available for purchase that same day. For the seafood consumer this means less choice and ultimately less Victorian fresh, local, sustainably caught seafood available for consumption. It also will result in the available local seafood being considerably more expensive.

For recreational fishers, this decision will see a significant shortage of bait with pilchards and sardines caught in Port Phillip Bay not being available. Therefore available bait will be from either interstate (limited supply) or imported, when our commercial industry can provide a stable, sustainable supply at present.

The Victorian community can be extremely confident that when they purchase fresh Victorian seafood they are supporting local, small-scale fishing industries that are harvesting seafood in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. You need to speak up soon, before it is too late!

What this form of policy does is remove the legal operators and promote the thriving black market in seafood sold by “shamateurs” that exists today. There will be a massive increase in demand for illegal fish when the legal operators are removed from the market.

To retain jobs in the broader seafood industry there is a need to maintain the commercial fisheries of Victoria's bay and inlets, not remove them. Especially considering some of the Victorian operations are 4th and 5th generation family run businesses.

Port Phillip Bay is a public resource in which both commercial and recreational fisheries have co-existed for many decades... it should remain so!
Support your local commercial fishers and the Victorian industry. DO NOT SUPPORT the removal of commercial fishing from Victoria's Bays and Inlets.


Reasons for signing

  • It is important to support local and sustainably managed fisheries
  • Whilst my husband enjoys fishing, he does not catch enough to feed all our friends who like to eat fish but do not have the time or interest to catch their own fish. It seems to me that they would be forced into buying Asian fish or look for local fish from an illegal fisherman who makes that his livelihood.
  • So I know what fish I am actually eating and know that it is local

Updates

2015-10-25 12:50:00 +1100

1,000 signatures reached

2014-11-28 10:35:49 +1100

500 signatures reached

2014-11-19 14:34:57 +1100

100 signatures reached

2014-11-19 11:25:34 +1100

50 signatures reached

2014-11-19 10:10:00 +1100

25 signatures reached

2014-11-19 09:25:33 +1100

10 signatures reached