Victorian Government’s proposed ban on commercial net fishing in Port Phillip Bay Victoria

My Comments about Victorian Government’s proposed ban on commercial net fishing in Port Phillip Bay Victoria.

I’ve been meaning to comment on this earlier as I’ve been getting requests for my thoughts on this ban.

Let me cut to the chase … The ban is great. The Victorian Government need to be applauded for having the guts to finally make a decision based on the protection of the resource and environs … rather than insipidly be swayed by the power of the vote !! One can only hope that Canberra will also take a leaf out of their book.

The mindless selfishness that motivates the protestors opposing this ban is beyond belief. I have many questions for them, but one in particular that I must ask of them …”Why is it that Port Phillip Bay was once ‘the home of the XL Snapper’, yet now they are so very rarely caught”.

Let’s do a comparison of net vs individual line caught fishing.

Individual Line Caught Product

  1. Is the purest form of, and original, artisanal form of fishing.
  2. Is totally selective in catch … and if you do catch an unwanted or undersized product – it is immediately returned to the water ALIVE.
  3. Has zero footprint on the environs i.e. when you leave the fishing ground there is no evidence of your effort there.
  4. Cannot ‘ghost catch’ the likes of Whales, Dolphin, Seals, Birdlife etc.
  5. Does not present a navigational hazard in any way.
  6. All of the above are very significant points … but this one is the biggest advantage … Premium line caught product fully optimises the value of the resource. Quite often a premium line caught product will bring twice [or more !] the price of it’s mass caught counterpart because the product is pristine.

Net Fishing

  1. Is not ‘fishing’ at all …. It is mass catching entrapment by stealth.
  2. Is NOT selective in catch at all. It will catch whatever comes into it’s path and most are dead when the net is retrieved, so undersize or unwanted catch is generally shovelled over the side dead. In fact, quite oten there is more discarded dead over the side from a net fishing operation, than what is retained.
  3. Has a MASSIVE footprint … and who knows how long the substrate takes to regenerate to it’s original condition ?? … and at what cost to the planet ?? Remember … this is the very nursery of hides that nurture / protect the young juveniles.
  4. Regularly ‘ghost catch’ the likes of Whales, Dolphin, Seals, Birdlife etc.
  5. Nets always present navigational hazards – particularly when not marked properly, or at night.

6.     All of the above are very significant points … but this one is the biggest disadvantage of them all … Mass Net Caught product devalues the resource by at least 50%. Quite often a premium line caught product will bring 2 or even 3 times the price of it’s mass caught counterpart.

Those who are protesting are purely motivated by their desire to either sell or purchase “cheap” fish…with zero concern for either the resource nor the environment.

BEYOND BELIEF ?? …… INDEED !!!!

Mark Eather

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