Today, Friday 27 August marks three years since the Australian Fisheries Management Authority officially opened its office in Lakes Entrance.
Despite facing the challenges of catastrophic summer fires and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the team of AFMA staff in Lakes Entrance have adapted swiftly to the rapidly changing environment and are committed to working with the community and supporting the Lakes Entrance fishing industry.
Located in the SEAMEC TAFE Gippsland building on Bullock Island, the team of AFMA Fisheries Management and Compliance Officers enjoy the benefits of living in the community and directly engaging with fishing industry on a daily basis.
AFMA staff in Lakes Entrance carry out both fisheries management and compliance functions across the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery, the Southern Squid Jig Fishery and the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery.
AFMA’s CEO Wez Norris said the Lakes Entrance office has enabled AFMA to work closely with the community to deliver its services.
“Our Lakes Entrance office provides us with greater presence in the area and enhances opportunities to work closely with industry on co-management arrangements, bycatch reduction, electronic monitoring and fisheries compliance operations.”
“Successful fisheries management depends on a collaborative approach and our staff enjoy directly engaging with industry and the broader community through events such Hooked on Lakes Entrance.
As the home of the largest commercial fishing fleet in Victoria, Lakes Entrance has a proud commercial fishing industry going back more than a century. In 2020, over 3,000 tonnes of sustainable fresh seafood were landed by the 36 Commonwealth licenced fishing boats who call Lakes Entrance home, this accounts for 38% of all Victorian landings.
Much of Australia’s well-loved eating species such as blue grenadier, scallops, flathead, school whiting, and fish and chips favourite gummy shark (flake) are transported from Lakes Entrance to local fish shops and markets in Melbourne and Sydney.
South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association, Executive Officer, Simon Boag, said having industry and AFMA in the same fishing town means that we have been able to work in partnership to reduce risk, environmental impacts and levies while maximising catches within these constraints.
“It also means that AFMA managers and fishers are more connected and mindful of each’s goals.
“We look forward to continuing to work on all these areas in partnership with AFMA to continue efforts on all these fronts.”
AFMA is the independent statutory authority responsible for the management of Commonwealth fisheries. For more information about the management of Australia’s south-eastern trawling fisheries, please visit afma.gov.au/fisheries