Scallop Case Shucked Out

VRFish, the peak body representing Victorian recreational fishers, welcomes the Supreme Court decision in favour of the Minister of Agriculture to set a total allowable commercial catch (TACC) of 60 tonnes for the Scallop Dive Fishery in Port Phillip Bay.

VRFish Chair, Mr. Rob Loats said, “We have been involved in the development of the fishery since 2013 and our long-standing position has been to support a small-scale, ‘niche’ commercial dive fishery for scallops in Port Phillip Bay.”

“This decision finally puts to bed years of uncertainty and reflects the recreational fishing sector’s clear expectations for this niche fishery.”

“We applaud the Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulord for standing firm on her decision to manage the fishery as it was always intended and in the face of immense pressure from several legal challenges.”

A 60 tonnes TACC represents a five-fold increase in the initial 12 tonne limit and would fetch a landed value between $900,000 to $1,200,000 according to the Victorian Fisheries Authority.

After nearly 30 years of damaging scallop dredging in Port Phillip Bay, a small-scale commercial dive fishery offers a very sustainable method of harvesting scallops by hand from the sea floor.

Recreational diving for scallops is a popular activity in Port Phillip Bay, with the majority activity centered in the south east around Rye, and off the Bellarine Peninsula.

VRFish will continue to be a strong and independent voice for recreational fishers and ensure Victoria does not digress back to the dark old days of industrial-scale harvesting of scallops in Port Phillip Bay.

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