Commercial sea urchin fishery
The Victorian Government has taken steps to grow the potential of the state's sea urchin fishery by introducing a new licensing and quota system that provides urchin fishers with more secure access to the fishery and business confidence to invest in their businesses and to develop local and overseas markets.
Sea urchin may now be harvested in eastern Victoria and Port Phillip Bay under a newly created Sea Urchin Fisheries Access Licence. The new regulatory arrangements came into effect on 1 August 2014.
The sea urchin fishery has been operating as a 'developing fishery' under permits since 1998. Following ongoing interest by fishers to transition this fishery to a more secure licensing arrangement, a new management framework has been designed to facilitate investment and growth in this potentially high value niche product. The regime will ensure long-term sustainability, economic efficiency and cost effective management of the fishery. By securing long term fishing rights, the industry will now be able to invest in growing markets to supply local and overseas markets with this increasingly sought after delicacy.
Currently, sea urchin will only be harvested in eastern Victoria, primarily out of Mallacoota, and in Port Phillip Bay. The new fishery will be managed under a conservative Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) and divers will only be allowed to collect sea urchin by hand. Further growth of this fishery in other areas of Victoria will be considered over time.
Catch of sea urchin will be monitored to ensure ongoing sustainability. Fishers will be required to report their fishing activity, including their catch, using a newly developed mobile smart phone technology in the form of a fishing App.
This easy- to-use technology has been developed to reduce paper-based reporting requirements and provide cost effective fisheries enforcement, thereby reducing cost to industry.
Read the sea urchin baseline management arrangements here: sea urchin management arrangements.