Tuna a $9 million catch for Portland

Bluefin tuna
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Portland’s Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery injected between $7 million and $9 million into the local economy in 2012, a new study has found.

Premier and Member for South West Coast Denis Napthine said the economic importance of the lucrative catch had been quantified in the study jointly commissioned by the Victorian Coalition Government and Glenelg Shire Council.
'Southern Bluefin Tuna off the south west coast is a truly world class recreational fishery that attracts thousands of anglers from across Australia between February and June each year,' Dr Napthine said.

'An estimated 3000 anglers travelled to Portland to fish for Southern Bluefin Tuna in 2012, with 300 or more trailer boats in the area at any one time and 25-30 charter boats operating out of the region.

'The economic benefits of recreational tuna fishing have been recognised anecdotally for some years but this is the first time action has been taken to quantify just how significant that contribution is.'

The study, by Deloitte Access Economics, found anglers spent an average of between $381-$508 each day they launched boats in the local sea, mainly on accommodation, food and drinks, fuel, fishing supplies and charter boat fees.

Dr Napthine said the study found an equivalent of 26 full time jobs were created in Portland due to spending by recreational tuna fishers.

'It also found anglers travelled an average of 300 kilometres to arrive at Portland, providing strong evidence that Southern Bluefin Tuna is a high profile fishery that anglers are willing to travel large distances to enjoy,' Dr Napthine said.

The study also found that:

• Only five per cent of anglers surveyed were from Portland, with the remainder travelling to the area from another part of Victoria or from interstate.

• During their visit to Portland, anglers undertook an average of two boat trips and caught an average of three fish a day, of which about half were released.

• The time that anglers spend fishing for Southern Bluefin Tuna at Portland represents about one-third of the total amount of time they go fishing in a year.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the study would provide the Victorian Government and the Glenelg Shire with a better understanding of the economic benefits of the recreational Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery.

'This is a very important study because it gives us a sound base of evidence to inform future planning, infrastructure and investment decisions by the Government, the Council and fishing businesses,' Mr Walsh said.