Corio Bay is now free of all commercial net fishing, which will significantly improve recreational fishing opportunities on the Bellarine Peninsula in the years ahead.

Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville joined with members of the Leopold Angling & Aquatic Club today to mark the landmark occasion and the delivery of a key milestone in the Andrews Labor Government’s Target One Million plan for recreational fishing.

Target One Million is investing a record $46 million, including $9 million from recreational fishing licence fees, into the popular pastime to get more people fishing, more often and grow participation to one million anglers by 2020.

The removal of net fishing from Corio Bay is a major stepping stone in bringing an end to all commercial net fishing throughout Port Phillip Bay by 2022.

This will leave more fish like snapper, King George whiting, flathead and calamari for families to catch themselves, with flow-on economic benefits to regional tourism businesses.

In 2016, 33 of 43 license holders left Port Phillip Bay’s commercial net fishery, accepting compensation packages funded through Target One Million. A further licence holder is currently in the process of exiting the fishery.

These 33 license holders caught 87 per cent of the commercial catch of fish targeted by recreational fishers. Their departure delivered the expected benefits for recreational fishers well ahead of the original eight year time frame.

The remaining 9 license holders may continue to fish using existing methods, including nets, under a strict catch limit. Of those 9, eight elected to stay in the non-net fishery after 2022 using mainly long-lines, fishing lines and squid jigs.

The good news for recreational anglers continues with recent research by the Victorian Fisheries Authority confirming another excellent year of juvenile King George whiting settlement in the bay, which should make for terrific fishing from 2019 to 2021 when they grow to a catch-able size.

Quotes attributable to Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville

 “We said all commercial net fishing would be removed from Corio Bay by April 2018 and that’s exactly what has been delivered.”

“Our bay fishery is going from strength to strength and removing commercial net fishing will only hasten its development as a mecca for saltwater anglers.”