Fourteen year-old Warrnambool angler, Xavier Ellul, has been recognised for his contribution to the sustainable management of mako sharks in Victoria.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford joined other fishers and club members plus staff from the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) at the Torquay Angling Club to present Xavier with a certificate of appreciation for his suggestion to introduce a minimum size to protect small mako sharks.
Marty Ellul, Xavier’s father and VRFish Board member, raised the idea with VRFish – the group that represents the interests of Victoria’s 838,000 recreational fishers.
VRFish wrote to the VFA last month and public consultation began on the proposed introduction of a 120cm minimum size for all species of mako shark in Victoria.
Mako shark fishing is popular right along the Victorian coast, as is fishing for other shark species including gummy, school and bronze whalers.
Mako shark currently fit within the overarching shark category, which is subject to a bag possession limit of 1 per species and no minimum size.
The proposed 120cm minimum size would increase protection of juvenile makos and reflects the strong sense of stewardship felt by many keen recreational fishers.
The minimum size would be measured from the rear most gill slit to the base of the tail fin on any side of the body.
Public consultation closes on 8 June. Most feedback received thus far has been extremely positive of the change, with 99 per cent of submissions indicating support.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“The future of Victoria’s recreational fisheries is in good hands with passionate teenagers like Xavier playing an active role in the management of their favourite pastime.”
“I congratulate Xavier for getting this on the agenda and hopefully he will encourage even more young keen anglers to wet a line.”
“We know recreational fishing is loved by Victorians, which is why the our Target One Million plan is investing a record $46 million to get more people fishing, more often.”