Gippsland South The Nationals Venus Bay Parliament

O'Brien raises pipi problem in State Parliament

The Nationals candidate for the Gippsland South by-election, Danny O’Brien, has taken concerns over excess pipi harvesting at Venus Bay to State Parliament.

Before resigning as Member for Eastern Victoria in the Upper House, Mr O’Brien asked the Minister for Agriculture in Parliament to undertake better scientific studies on the sustainability of the fishery and consider a closed season if necessary to reduce pressure on Venus Bay.

“I recently met with a number of concerned citizens and community groups at the Venus Bay Community Centre and they outlined to me just how much of a toll the pipi issue is taking on the community.

“Residents are worried about over-harvesting of the resource, environmental damage caused in sand dunes and on the beach and rubbish left around on the beach and in town.

“Other concerns pertinent to this issue are the pressure this harvesting brings to bear on Venus Bay. Narrow roads and limited beach access make it difficult for volunteer emergency services to access the beach and there is concern someone will not receive the care they need following an accident in the water or on the beach if an ambulance physically can’t get through due to cars parked illegally by pipi harvesters.”

Mr O’Brien said the community had little faith in the scientific data so far collected on the sustainable harvest level and enforcement of catch limits was minimal.

“I ask the Minister to address this issue by ensuring, firstly that Fisheries has a good understanding of the resource base through scientific data collection. If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

“Depending on the outcomes of this data, I ask the Minister and the department to consider a closed season for pipis, which may be pertinent over the summer months and around Christmas in particular, when Venus Bay's infrastructure is already strained by an influx of tourists.

“The community is very concerned by the issue and is concerned at serious social disharmony should the large numbers of pipi harvesters continue to come. I ask the Minister to treat this matter very seriously,” Mr O’Brien concluded.

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