Commercial operators in East Gippsland will be able to fish for octopus thanks to a new category of licence which will secure valuable jobs in the region and provide more fresh food for seafood lovers.
Victorian Minister for Boating and Fishing Melissa Horne said 11 ongoing licences will be issued, which will allow operators to catch up to 68 tonnes of octopus per year through sustainable fishing in the Gippsland zone.
The new category of licence will be specific to the octopus fishery and will permit operators to fish in waters east of Loch Sport to the New South Wales border.
The new dedicated licence and quota is tradeable, which will improve business security for operators and enable more confident investment into boats, equipment and staff.
Octopus have been harvested by commercial fishers in Victoria in the past under other licence categories. They will be caught in purpose-built, unbaited traps that minimise bycatch and are environmentally friendly.
The catch from the region could be worth up to $1 million annually to the Gippsland operators as Australian chefs and consumers move to embrace Victorian octopus.
Most of the fishery is based on pale octopus, which inhabits sandy substrates in bays and coastal waters of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. They can be found in waters to depths of almost 600 metres and are of little interest to recreational fishers.
Catches from the Western and Central zones, where octopus fishing is more developmental, will continue to be managed using permits issued by the Victorian Fisheries Authority.
Source: Vic Government