The future of commercial fishing in East Gippsland will be better secured and environmental outcomes enhanced when the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) opens its new office at Lakes Entrance early next year.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the new AFMA office at Lakes Entrance will build on the successes achieved in the two year trial of locating an AFMA officer in the region.
"The Coalition Government has worked closely and effectively with industry to decentralise part of AFMA to Lakes Entrance, the home of fishing in Victoria, benefitting stakeholders and the Australian marine environment," Minister Joyce said.
"Up to six AFMA workers will be regionally based at the Lakes Entrance office, closer to their key stakeholders and fishing communities.
"This is a key example of the Coalition Government's decentralisation agenda in action to grow our communities and bring an economic boost to the regions."
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, commended the local commercial fishing sector for its work with AFMA.
"The commitment of the local industry to working with AFMA to ensure the sustainability of Commonwealth fisheries has been fantastic," Minister Ruston said.
"We never stop looking at ways we can improve environmental outcomes and the sustainable management of our fisheries."
Member for Gippsland Darren Chester today welcomed the announcement, which followed a two-year trial locating an AFMA liaison officer in the region.
"This is excellent news for the Lakes Entrance community and for the fishing industry operating in the region," Mr Chester said.
"Lakes Entrance is home to the largest commercial fishing fleet in Victoria and has a proud commercial fishing tradition going back a century.
"This move is a great example of decentralization of government agency jobs that can be done in regional areas and regional living provides enormous benefits."
South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association executive officer, Simon Boag, said the local commercial fishing sector looked forward to an enhanced relationship with AFMA.
"We're absolutely committed to a sustainable resource and a sustainable industry, and working with AFMA ensures we're meeting our obligations and compliance requirements in this respect so future generations of Australians can have the healthy supply of fresh seafood we enjoy today," Mr Boag said.
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.