The Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh announced the opening of the Expression of Interest (EOI) process for the license to Port Phillip Bay’s new hand-harvest scallop fishery.
According to the latest media release featured on the Premier of Victoria‘s website, this so-called EOI process will be followed by a public auction for a single access license, after the announcement of new dive fishery for scallops was made public back in September.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is very pleased to offer this exciting opportunity which will generate local business and employment. The development of this new, niche fishery will also provide an additional, sustainable supply of fresh Victorian scallops,” Mr. Walsh said.
According to him, the next step in the formation of the fishery was the formal Expression of interest process.
“Following on from the EOI, all suitably qualified commercial operators will be able to bid for the single license at an auction to be held early in 2014,” Mr. Walsh said.
“Eligible commercial entities might be individuals, single corporations or cooperatives.”
Mr. Walsh further adds that there had been inquiries about establishing a fishery ever since the dredge fishing in Port Fillip Bay was closed in 1997.
“The single licence and a conservative Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) across six sub-zones will ensure careful management of the resource,” Mr. Walsh said.
“Auctioning the licence is a fair, open and transparent method of allocating this public resource given there are no existing rights to the fishery but there have been multiple inquiries made about such a proposal over the years.”
Mr. Walsh concludes that the existing recreational scallop fisheries in Port Bay will be protected as the commercial license holder will be excluded from harvesting in recreational zones.
18 December 2013 is the deadline day for Expression of interest process.