Fish Industry To Be Gutted By Legislation

Melbourne and Geelong’s fish industry will be “gutted” if legislation banning commercial fishing in Port Philip Bay is passed by government this week an industry leader has warned.

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“The four million Victorians who each year purchase and prepare fresh fish will be severely affected along with hundreds of local fish retailers and restaurants,” said Barbara Konstas, chief executive Melbourne Seafood Centre.

“Consumers and restaurateurs will baulk at buying frozen fish imported from interstate or overseas when they are accustomed to buying fresh local caught fish

“It is legislations without justification or science, “ she said.

“Additionally it is not a fair deal for the fishermen whose business value would be forced down and their compensation reduced”

Barbara Konstas, chief executive Melbourne Seafood Centre[/important]

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Robert Doyle

Robert Doyle

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the ban puts Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s gourmet capital at risk.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle[/notice]
Ms Konstas said that that commercial and recreational fishing can exist side by side and has been confirmed as sustainable.

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“The bay is a sustainable resource which has been supplying fish to Victorians for more than 100 years.
“We should be proud of our iconic clean fish industry centered in Melbourne and Geelong –we are the envy of numerous overseas cities”, she said.

“Why should consumers loose out when there is enough for everyone,’ Ms Konstas said.

“Don’t all Victorians have a right to Victoria’s produce?” she said.

Barbara Konstas, chief executive Melbourne Seafood Centre[/important]
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In an extensive report independent fisheries research consultant Kirsten Abernethy said commercial fishery in Port Phillip Bay had been declared ecologically sustainable by both the federal and state governments.

“Both commercial and recreational fisheries can coexist. They have done so for decades, and there is no valid scientific or ethical reason why this can’t continue,” Dr Abernethy’s report said.

Dr Kirsten Abernethy – Lecturer in Environmental Social Science[/notice]

While the volume of seafood caught in Port Phillip each year (about 400 tonnes) may seem like small fry, some in the industry say the impact will be felt keenly because the species caught in the bays with nets are iconic and highly prized.

The main species caught by commercial fisheries in Port Phillip and Corio in order of value, according to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation in Canberra are: snapper, King George whiting, calamari, Australian salmon, southern garfish and rock flathead.

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Melbourne Seafood Centre LogoMelbourne Seafood Centre Media Release – 09 November 2015

The Melbourne Seafood Centre is owned by the 11 tenants of the centre. These 11 partners are wholesale distributors and retailers who are committed to delivering and producing high quality seafood for Victoria through it’s competitive market.

The majority of seafood that is traded in the Melbourne Seafood Centre is sourced from all over Australia (in particular Victoria), New Zealand and from all over the globe.

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