25th November 2015
Leading chefs including George Calombaris, Neil Perry and Ben Shewry have joined forces to protest the Victorian government’s proposed ban on commercial net fishing in Port Phillip Bay.
Neil Perry, operator and chef of the Rockpool Group, said that his Victorian restaurants source 70% - 90% of their seafood from Port Phillip Bay and would suffer enormously if the potential ban were to become a reality.
Perry said that, “Beautiful fresh sustainable fish – that is fundamentally a part of the culture of Melbourne is going to disappear.”
The Andrew’s government introduced the Fisheries Amendment Bill 2015 in late October as part of the plan to boost recreational fishing in the Port Phillip Bay area.
The planned legislation will see commercial net fishing phased out over the next seven years. Perry contends that it is the world’s best practice to have sustainable commercial and recreational fishing side-by-side on the doorstep of a major city. Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, is also opposed to the ban, which he says will hurt the state’s reputation for offering the highest quality fresh foods.
Michael Bacash, operator and chef from South Yarra’s Bacash restaurant, says that if the ban goes ahead then menus will not be able to be as diverse as supplies of certain species will suffer.
Bacash said, “Both the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Department of Agriculture have found that fishing in Port Phillip Bay is sustainable and that commercial fishing and recreational anglers can happily co-exist.”
The legislation will be debated in the Legislative Council in the next session of parliament beginning yesterday Tuesday 24th November.
We will have to wait and see if this ‘tale’ has a happy ending …….