Victoria angles for scientific snapshot of bluefin tuna

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Fisheries Victoria is undertaking research to provide the first scientific snapshot of recreational fishing of southern bluefin tuna in Victoria.

Scientists from the Fisheries Research Branch at Queenscliff have begun collecting data on the bluefin tuna fishery in south west Victoria.

Throughout the 2011 tuna season researchers will be visiting boat ramps in Warrnambool, Portland and Port Fairy asking anglers how many tuna they have caught. Experienced tuna anglers will also be asked to maintain a diary to provide a valuable record of their fishing activities.

This research will play a crucial role in helping to understand Victoria's southern bluefin tuna fishery, which is an immensely valuable asset for the large number of anglers who enjoy offshore fishing and the many businesses that depend on regional tourism.

In recent years a world class off-shore game fishery for southern bluefin tuna has developed in south west Victoria and catch rates are largely unknown.

The information gathered will provide an estimate of Victoria's annual recreational southern bluefin tuna catch, which we will use to guide discussions with the Commonwealth fisheries agencies about setting a fair and secure share of available tuna stocks.

The program has been funded through a $187,900 grant from the Recreational Fishing Grants Program.

Fisheries Victoria needs offshore anglers to help by completing a short survey about their tuna catches.

For more information about how angling licence fees are being spent to improve fishing opportunities visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/fishing/feesatwork.