Moratorium on new access to commercial fisheries
Existing wild catch commercial fisheries in Victoria are, in general, at or near capacity in terms of fishing effort. Most species that are targeted by commercial fishers are classified as "fully exploited" or "environmentally limited".
New fisheries may arise as a result of environmental influences, including climate change, altering the geographic range of fisheries resources, from changes in market trends due to consumer preferences, or from the identification of new opportunities to harvest fisheries resources, such as those perceived to be under-utilised species in Victorian waters.
The Victorian Government supports the development of sustainable and profitable opportunities for commercial fishing businesses. However, establishing a new fishery requires consideration of a number of complex fisheries management issues, including setting sustainable harvest limits, sharing access to the resource between commercial and recreational fishers, establishing a fair way for competing businesses to acquire a fishing entitlement and the funding arrangements necessary to manage a new fishery.
Fisheries Victoria has developed a considered position, based on a set of sound design principles of resource allocation, to address these complex fisheries management issues. These principles have informed the new proposal to develop a commercial dive fishery for scallops in Port Phillip Bay. Public feedback on the approach described for this proposed new fishery will inform the finalisation of a broader developing fisheries policy to be applied to all new commercial wild catch fisheries.
The program of reform work being undertaken by Fisheries Victoria will provide the basis for establishing a developing fishery policy. As an interim measure, a temporary moratorium on new access to wild catch commercial fisheries in Victoria has been established.
The interim policy for the development of new fisheries in Victorian waters confirms DPI's position that "new access will not be granted to fish for any wild catch fishery resource in any Victorian waters until further notice". This policy applies to the issue of any new permits or licences to authorise the fishing of any wild catch commercial fishery resource. The policy does not impact on currently licensed commercial operations and does not apply to the reissue of existing permits.
For further information, please refer to the policy statement.