O’Brien requests Venus Bay pipi fishery review
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has asked the State Government for an updated review of the sustainability of the Venus Bay pipi fishery.
Speaking in Parliament last night, Mr O’Brien said reports examining the sustainability of the fishery had been undertaken in the past few years but were based on data collected in 2009 and 2011 and he called on the Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, to commission new research.
“I think it is appropriate and prudent at this time, some four or five years after the last studies were undertaken, for the Minister and her department to update the studies on the sustainability of the pipi fishery at Venus Bay,” Mr O’Brien said.
He said it was important that a review of the fishery be undertaken as the number of people harvesting pipis had grown considerably since the last study.
Mr O’Brien said the community had a wide range of concerns in relation to pipi harvesting.
“Earlier this year I 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,” Mr O’Brien said.
“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.
“Another concern pertinent to this issue includes the narrow roads and limited beach access which make it difficult for volunteer emergency services to access the beach when it is busy due to the presence of pipi harvesters as well as regular beach-goers..
“There is concern amongst residents that 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 on access roads.”
Mr O’Brien said the community reference group established by the former Coalition Government to work through the issues still met regularly, however now needed up-to-date data to continue to achieve outcomes for the town.
“The community has been told that the fishery is sustainable despite the increase in harvesting over recent years and while some have not accepted the studies, up to date information would help inform future decisions by both the government and the local community.”