Gippsland Lakes commercial netting ban a step closer

Gippsland Lakes commercial netting ban a step closer

Commercial netting in the Gippsland Lakes is another step closer to being banned, with the Andrews Labor Government introducing legislation today that will boost tourism, create jobs and protect the unique lake system.

The Marine and Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 will phase out the 10 remaining Gippsland Lakes Fishing Access Licences over two years. The first opportunity for industry to exit will be 1 April next year, with all affected licences phased out by 1 April 2021.

The ban will return the Gippsland Lakes to recreational fishers, creating better fishing opportunities and a boost for local tourism and regional jobs.

It will help rebuild fish stocks and increase catch rates for recreational fishers and delivers on a key commitment of the Labor Government’s $35 million Target One Million Phase Two plan, which aims to get more people fishing, more often in more places.

Gippsland Lakes Fishing Access Licence holders will be fairly compensated for the cancellation of their licence, with compensation to be consistent with that provided under the Port Phillip Bay buy-out.

Commercial bait, eel and mussel fishing will not be impacted and will continue to be permitted in the Gippsland Lakes.

Victorian and federal offshore fisheries that use the Lakes as a port will also remain unaffected, ensuring that prawns and other species sold into the food market will be available to consumers.

Fishing and Boating Minister Jaala Pulford said,“This legislation will provide certainty for affected licence holders and we will continue to work through this transition with them.”

Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett added “We’re listening to the East Gippsland community – removing the nets, phasing out commercial licences and handing the lakes back to recreational fishers.”