Bay ban the net result

By Sarah Schwager
FISHING hooks and sinkers were the talk of the town in Tooradin on Saturday.
Fishing and footy celebrity Rex Hunt joined Premier Steve Bracks as he announced an end to commercial netting in Western Port Bay.
The announcement was part of a $44 million Labor fishing package to help improve the chance of recreational fishermen catching a fish.
“Western Port Bay is a popular destination for recreational anglers and the Bracks Government is moving to ensure its long-term sustainability,” Mr Bracks said.
“Labor wants to ensure many of Victoria’s much loved recreational fishing destinations continue to yield catches for recreational anglers into the future.”
Mr Bracks and Hunt then spent 30 minutes trying to catch a fish, only to be unsuccessful, as if demonstrating the need for the policy.
Mr Bracks said recreational fishing injected about $400 million a year to Victoria’s economy.
The policy includes $5 million for a voluntary buy-back for Western Port Bay commercial fishermen who wish to leave the industry, $20 million from boating licence and registration fees on improving boating access, ramps and safety, $12 million for a fishing grants program, $1.2 million to boost fish stocks in Victorian waterways, and $2 million to rebuild Flinders Pier.
Minister Responsible for Fisheries, Bob Cameron, said the Government would continue to crack down on illegal fishing activity and monitor the 13-FISH hotline.
“Labor will also undertake a review of the membership of the Fisheries Revenue Allocation Committee – which allocates recreational fishing licence funds – to ensure recreational anglers are well represented,” Mr Cameron said.