Port Phillip Bay nears baby snapper record

·1-min read

Victoria's Port Phillip Bay has recorded its third highest abundance of baby snapper in nearly three decades.

The bay is the most important spawning area for snapper in central and western Victoria, and authorities say the recent abundance will help strengthen fishing for the next decade.

In 2018, Port Phillip Bay had a record number of baby snapper.

"Two of the bay's best three snapper spawning events in nearly 30 years have occurred in the last four years, so recreational fishers who love snapper have a lot to look forward to," Victorian Fisheries Authority chief executive Travis Dowling said.

A state government ban on netting in the bay started on April 1. Eight commercial line fishers still operate in the bay.

This year's near-record finding was based on a fisheries survey in March, which is conducted each year to measure the abundance of newborn snapper between 3cm and 10cm.

Scientists expect variation in snapper abundance, depending on environmental conditions.

A healthy snapper fishery is vital to Victoria's recreational fishers, along with the thousands of jobs that rely on them in the fishing and boating sectors, Futurefish Foundation director David Kramer said.

Port Phillip Bay's record 2018 class of snapper are now larger than the legal minimum catch size of 28cm and will join the adult spawning migration from next year.

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