In Agriculture

Victoria Minister for Agriculture & Food Security Peter Walsh

Victoria Angles For Scientific Snapshot Of Bluefin Tuna

Victor P Taffa

The Victorian Coalition Government is undertaking research to provide the first scientific snapshot of recreational fishing of southern bluefin tuna in Victoria.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh today announced that scientists from the Fisheries Research Branch at Queenscliff had begun collecting data on the bluefin tuna fishery in South-West Victoria.

“Throughout the 2011 tuna season, which runs between February and June, researchers will be visiting boat ramps in Warrnambool, Portland and Port Fairy asking anglers how many tuna they have caught.” Mr. Walsh said.

“Experienced tuna anglers will also be asked to maintain a diary to provide a valuable record of their fishing activities.”

“This research will play a crucial role in helping us to understand Victoria’s southern bluefin tuna fishery, which is an immensely valuable asset to the state.”

Mr. Walsh said in recent years a world class off-shore game fishery for southern bluefin tuna had developed in south west Victoria.

“Catch rates are largely unknown for this highly regarded tuna fishery.” Mr. Walsh said.

“The coastal communities of Port Fairy, Warrnambool and Portland have become favourite haunts of anglers seeking the prized species.”

“The information gathered will provide an estimate of Victoria’s annual recreational southern bluefin tuna catch to help fisheries managers develop management frameworks.”

Mr. Walsh said the Program has been funded through an $187,900 grant from the Recreational Fishing Grants Program.

To date the Recreational Fishing Grants Program, which invests money collected from angling licence fees back into the recreational fishing industry, has funded more than 350 projects worth about $13.7 Million.

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