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COMMENTS FOR VICTORIAN DRAFT PIPI PLAN AUGUST 2018 - Vic Fish Authority 

From the Venus Bay Matter of Fact News Letter Aug 2018: 

The Victorian FisheriesAuthority has released a draft of Victoria’s first management plan for pipis and we are keen to hear your thoughts.

The pipi fishery in Victoria is currently focused around two small areas; Discovery Bay near Portland which is mainly a commercial fishery; and Venus Bay to the east which is mainly a recreational fishery.

We rely upon the commercial fishery to supply pipis for bait to catch some of our favourite fish species, including King George whiting. Supporting the development of a sustainable pipi fishery is an important step to ensure the continued the supply of locally sourced bait at the right price point, while the popularity of pipis in the seafood market take off.

The drafting of a management plan ensures the development of the fishery is sustainable, addressing any risks through management strategies and is undertaken equitably.

The plan supports the expansion of the commercial fishery under a quota management system and provide for access to new, unexplored areas to promote the ongoing sustainability, viability and efficiency of the commercial fishery. This will in turn support the growth of the commercial fishery to enable it to meet growing demand.

For us recreational fishers there are no proposed changes. Currently, in Venus Bay (between Point Smythe and Arch Rock) there is a daily individual limit of 2 litres whole shell or half litre shucked meat applies. In all other areas a catch limits of 5 litres whole or 1 litre shucked per person per day. No pipis can be harvested within the intertidal zone of Port Phillip Bay or in any Marine National Park or Marine Sanctuary.

We are keen to hear your thoughts on the draft pipi plan. Please contact us directly on info@vrfish.com.au.

Here is the Draft Pipi Plan For Victoria, please comment!  

13 JULY 2018 - COMMENTS TOWARDS DRAFT PIPI PLAN FOR VICTORIA - Vic Fish Authority 

This was my submission:

Important comments for the DRAFT Pipi Fishery Management Plan for Victoria:

 

I have ran a petition for closed season for pipi harvesting at Venus Bay (Victoria) with over 2700 signatures & a pipi website since 2013.  In the past our voice has gone unheard from Fisheries, Parks VIC & the Victorian Government for change.  This has to stop.  Our community & other communities need to be heard & changes made.

 

The Petition link is here: 

https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/seasonal-pipi-collection-restrictions-for-venus-bay-beaches

 

VBpipis website is here: 

https://www.vbpipis.info

 

Concerned citizens from all over Australia & even people from New Zealand have contacted me in regards to risks that have unfolded in their local area due to over harvesting of pipis.  These voices & concerns are relevant & the effects of over harvesting everywhere in Australia, but it has been a very visual concern at Venus Bay (Victoria) over many years. 

 

Venus Bay's current pipi stock is only in its infancy of regeneration after the horrendous over harvesting of recreational fishing in the years 2013, 2014 & 2015. Our voices have gone unheard because we do not have the science behind the visual effects, however the latest study confirmed that the bulk of the remaining pipis are immature & small. This study also recommended continued harvesting of immature pipis, how does this happen? If we can see that this is wrong, then the rest of the world can too.

 

 

The following should be considered & included into any future Pipi Management plan - these are just common sense:

 

1.  Better research to understand the full measures of harvesting & this includes recreational fishing as well as commercial.

 

2.  Closed season - as adopted by SA government.  Follow the SA Government lead, they have researched & developed a good plan unlike the NSW Government who acted too late.

 

3.  Pipi size limit, anything under a certain size can not be harvested - as adopted by SA Government

 

4.  Reduce the catch limit per car/person for recreational pipi harvesting/fishing to reduce over harvesting possibilities.  History & other Australian States research shows pipi stock is not a infinite resource. 

 

5.  DO NOT permit vehicle access on beaches as requested by commercial pipi harvesters.  We need to protect the biodiversity & wildlife of the beach, foreshore & ocean (especially the Hooded Plovers & other birds), vehicle access destroys beach biodiversity as proven in many beaches around the country.

 

6.  Commercial harvesting must ensure meticulous catch records are maintained & made available to the public.

7,  Only one form of harvesting - Commercial or Recreational.  Commercial fishing should have meticulous records of catches, whereas recreational fishing goes unchecked without data available.  Recreational fishing poses a larger threat to potential over harvesting as we have seen at Venus Bay.

 

8.  The public & environmental groups must be heard & supported, not rebuffed & belittled as Venus Bay community has experienced in the past by Fisheries Victoria, Parks VIC & the Department.  We are concerned citizens who care about our environment & where we live - we are not your enemy.

 

9.  Maintain a healthy biodiversity of our beaches, foreshore & ocean for our future.   Birdlife Australia & the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) & many other groups have put forth arguments as to what is needed or expressed their concerns about the environment in regards to pipiharvesting in the past that has gone unheard.

 

10.  Possible rule for recreational surf fishing/fisherpeople can only use what they harvest while fishing, pipis can not leave the beach - as per NSW Government law, you can only harvest what you are using while on the beach.

 

We all must remember that this is about maintaining the future of our environment & beaches.  How can we continue to deplete a natural resource & expect it to be there for the future if we do not manage it correctly.  Lets work together to ensure our environments future.

 

Please include these comments in the public response to the draft management plan. 

 

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEARS DEC - JAN 2017/2018

Harvesting was a lot quieter so far this year (2017).  We only had a few visitors over winter, however at the beginning of November the numbers have started to increase.  The good news is that the number of pipis have increased & there are larger sized pipis on the beach. Yippee!  On the downside there is an increase of rubbish in the car parks, dunes & beach.  It will be interesting to see what this season brings.

WARNING FOR CONSUMPTION OF SHELLFISH - Venus Bay Pipi - 31 May to 20 Nov 2017 

Signs were placed at the entrance point of all beaches in several different languages to warn visitors of consumption of shellfish due to okadaic acid deducted. Please note the following developments regarding pipis at Venus Bay.  

Key messages: 

• High levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison have been detected in pipis near Venus Bay
• The Authorities advise that pipis harvested from this area should not be eaten due to potentially high levels of the toxin that causes diarrhetic shellfish poisoning. 
• This is a precaution only while testing of pipis continues. 
• There are no concerns about the consumption of fish such as King George whiting harvested in the Venus Bay area. 
• Pipis bought from retail or wholesale sources including from aquaculture farms are safe to eat as they are regularly monitored for contaminants. 
• For further information contact the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources on 136 186 or go to www.ecodev.vic.gov.au & 
https://vfa.vic.gov.au/about/media-releases/warning-further-toxins-detected-in-venus-bay-pipis

 
What is the issue? 
Sampling of pipis in the Venus Bay area has detected okadaic acid, which is a naturally occurring seafood toxin that can cause Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) in humans. 


How has the government responded? 
A coordinated response between government agencies is underway to determine toxin levels in the pipi population at Venus Bay and surrounding areas. This will involve further testing of pipis. 
As a precautionary measure, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources advise that the consumption of pipis from the Venus Bay area should be avoided.  


How do toxins enter the food chain? 
Okadaic acid is a naturally occurring marine toxin produced by microscopic algae. Pipis eat these algae and can retain the toxin, sometimes at levels that can make people sick. Okadaic acid causes DSP in humans who eat  shellfish contaminated with the toxin.  


What are the symptoms of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning? 
Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea. 
Anyone experiencing symptoms that may be caused by DSP should seek advice from their doctor or call

NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24


Can I tell if pipis are toxic by the way they look? 
No. Pipis containing toxic levels of okadaic acid do not look or taste any different from pipis that are not contaminated with this toxin. Laboratory testing of pipi meat is the only known method of detecting toxin.  


Does cooking pipis make them safe to eat? 
No. Freezing or cooking does not destroy the toxin, so any pipis collected should be discarded. 


If I’ve eaten these pipis, what should I do? 
Symptoms usually develop around half an hour after consumption. Seek medical advice if you or someone in your care develops symptoms that may be caused by DSP, such asnausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhoea. 


I have pipis harvested from the Venus Bay area. Are they safe to eat? 
They may not be safe to eat. It is recommended all pipis harvested within the previous three months are discarded. 


Are pipis harvested from other areas safe to eat? 
Pipis bought from retail or wholesale sources including aquaculture farms are safe to eat as they are regularly monitored for contaminants. Commercial harvesting and sale for human consumption is not permitted when thresholds are met for water or shellfish that contain biotoxins from algal blooms. 


Are finfish such as King George whiting harvested from the Venus Bay area safe to eat? 
There is reason to be concerned about consuming finfish such as King George whiting harvested in the Venus Bay area. 


How should I discard pipis harvested from the Venus Bay area? 
Discard uneaten pipis by placing them in your regular rubbish bin. 


Can I eat pipis bought from retail or wholesale sources? 
Commercial fishing in the Venus Bay area only harvests pipis for use as bait and not for human consumption.  
Pipis bought from retail or wholesale sources are safe to eat as they are regularly monitored for contaminants. Commercial harvesting is not permitted when conditions lead to unsafe levels of toxins in shellfish. 


Can I use pipis for bait? 
Pipis are safe to be used as bait for fishing. 


More information 
For further information contact the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources on 136 186 or go to www.ecodev.vic.gov.au
 

ABC - News - Pipi fishing to expand along Victorian coastline in boost for industry

The Victorian Government is planning to expand commercial pipi fishing zones along most the State's coastline, paving the way for growth in the industry. Interesting Read:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-18/extension-to-victorias-commercial-pipi-fishing-zones/8808016

ABC - OffTrack & News - Pipis and Prejudice & Pipis at Venus Bay

Venus Bay people are regarded as being racist & moaners according to some locals, researchers & Community members. Worth a listen & read - interesting take on harvesting at Venus Bay.  Hats off to the Asian lady that spoke out against the over harvesting!

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/pipi-18.jpg/8369664

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-28/pipi-shellfish-at-heart-of-racially-fuelled-debate-at-venus-bay/8368990

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEARS DEC - JAN 2016/2017 - UPDATE

Harvesting was a lot quieter over Christmas & New Years.  Public holidays & weekends were busy, but the numbers are down.

For 2016, Venus Bay had harvesters from Melbourne every day from around Sept 2016, but not the numbers that we saw in 2013/2014.  

While on the beach you can notice that there is an increase in pipi numbers, small sizes, but an increase in numbers.  

Once again, if word gets out that the pipi numbers are on the increase, we will see an increased number of harvesters.  Please treat harvesters with respect, as they have a right to be on the beach too.  

Once again, please report any any littering & over harvesting.

RESEARCH UPDATE FOR VENUS BAY PIPIS - Nov 2016

Dr John Morriengello & students from The University of Melbourne are conducting the current pipi research at Venus Bay.  The research is half way through its term of 3 years, & the Community Reference Group (CRG) was given a brief update at their meeting in November 2016.  It was reported that while the pipi numbers are low & the sizes are small around the access points along Venus Bay beaches that the current harvest levels are 'Not necessarily an issue with recruitment at the moment (lots of little guys); abundance stable across studies' (refer to Matter of Fact news letter).  

We are not sure if this is really solid data to go on, but it will be interesting to see what the final research finds.  

It is no secret that harvesting is on the increase again, & maybe the plan for Venus Bay is to become self managed, where Venus Bay will be pipi free & then Fisheries & Parks will not have to manage any future harvesting issues.

SUCCESSFUL RESEARCH GRANT APPLICATION FOR VENUS BAY PIPIS - Sept 2015

Earlier 2015, Dr John Morriengello from The University of Melbourne contacted the site through the petition asking our community to support his application for a 3 year Recreation Fishing License Grant to assess the sustainability of Venus Bay's commercial & recreational pipi harvesting.  Through our community support, CRG & Dr Morriengello's speedy application, it was successful.  This is fantastic news, & news that our community has been wanting & waiting for.  This is a positive outcome for our community & the petition   Dr Morriengello will keep the community posted as to his findings & be active in community consultations over the next 3 years.  We will keep you posted as to when these will come about. 

 

VNPA 'PIPIS IN PERIL' - MARCH 2015

Victorian National Parks Association released a document stating 'PIPIS IN PERIL: SUSTAINABLE HARVESTING CLAIMS UNJUSTIFIED'. This document outlines unsatisfactory changes to commercial pipi harvesting across the Cape Liptrap & Discovery Bay areas which are already under pressure from recreational fishing. 

 

COMMERCIAL HARVESTING COMES TO VENUS BAY - Jan/Feb 2015

Commercial harvesting has found its way to Venus Bay.  Commercial harvesting has always been allowed at Venus Bay, however has not been witnessed as it has been in Jan & Feb 2015.  Below are photos from 12 Feb 2015 harvest were sent by community member.  Follow the link for more information about commercial harvesting from Commercial DEDJTR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEARS DEC - JAN 2014/2015 - UPDATE

Harvesting was a lot quieter over Christmas & New Years.  Public holidays & weekends were very busy, but the numbers are down. Once again loads of rubbish was left on the beaches & around car parks,  & parking was difficult.  We are not sure if the the quiet days were due to the weather, high tide being in the middle of the day, the drowning in Dec 2014, but most likely the lack of pipis on the beach.  It is very noticeable that the majority of remaining pipi stock is small & still being collected regardless of size.  Parks VIC & Fisheries were noticeably patrolling the beaches over this period, which has been great to see.  Thanks once again to all that collect the rubbish that the harvesters leave behind & all that support this campaign.   

 

DEC 2013: VENUS BAY PIPIS FOUND TO BE 25% BIOMASS AT ACCESS POINTS

In the Dec 2013 pipi stock count, before the Christmas onslaught, found the Venus Bay pipi stock at access points along the beach to have 25% biomass remaining (meaning that 75% of the beach pipi stock had been harvested, leaving only 25% remaining). This is 10 klms of Venus Bays beach - about half the beach.   The remaining pipis at these points were all found to be undersize & immature.  Fisheries have been advised of these results & have yet to act.

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