Fisheries Victoria initiated the Venus Bay Community Reference Group (CRG) so that it could work with the community to address the significant concerns and issues arising from increased harvesting of pipis (clams) along the Venus Bay beaches.
Various community groups and community members have attended meetings with Fisheries, Parks Victoria, Police, Coastcare, and South Gippsland Shire Council representatives in good faith for almost five years.
At the last CRG meeting in November 2014, no information was disclosed about a commercial pipi harvesting licence that was issued in October 2014 by Fisheries allowing commercial harvesting from the beach area south of Venus Bay Beach One (called Anderson Inlet 1 harvest area). This is the area where remnant adult sized pipis can still be found.
The easily accessed beaches 1-5 have very few large pipis due to the amount of pipis removed through recreational harvesting.
The process involved in the granting of the commercial licence invited relevant parties to make a submission but CRG was not invited to be a part of that process.
It actually appears the group did not know Fisheries were considering commercial pipi harvesting at Venus Bay.
One would think that the Venus Bay CRG would be one of the first groups to know what was to be considered and be invited to make a submission and be part of the consultation/decision making process.
It is to be hoped that at the next CRG meeting, to be held on Thursday, March 12 at Tarwin Lower, Fisheries might explain to the community they are supposed to be referring to, how they came to make the decision to grant the commercial pipi harvesting licence without this community’s knowledge.
Marion Kavanagh, Venus Bay.