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Abalone fishermen across Gippsland are opposing a proposed compulsory levy of 1.5% by the Abalone Council Australia to their annual abalone catch.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester is throwing his support behind abalone fishermen opposing the 1.5% levy to the annual abalone catch.

Mr Chester said a number of abalone fishermen from across Gippsland are concerned about the proposed ballot by the Abalone Council of Australia to introduce a compulsory 1.5 per cent levy for marketing in the abalone industry.

“These fishermen have been in the industry for many decades, some since the commencement of commercial fishery in 1962 and don’t believe they should be penalised with an additional 1.5 per cent levy,” Mr Chester said.

“Many of these fishermen have invested heavily in research and resource protection and development from over exploitation and illegal fishing.

“They would like to see sustainability of the resource for the foreseeable future.

“If the levy is implemented it will have an impact on the fishermen’s ability to fund important projects. “

Mr Chester said the Victorian Abalone Fishery is subdivided into three management zones the western, central and eastern zone.

“Gippsland is part of what is known as the Eastern Zone, where 23 licences are held and all access licences and quota are owned and operated by private family companies.

“These fishermen need to be able to make a sustainable profit so they can keep investing in their boats and new equipment and providing Australians with high quality seafood.”

“Gippsland is home to some of the largest commercial fishing in Victoria and has a proud commercial fishing tradition going back a century.

“The commercial fishing sector supports thousands of jobs and businesses across Gippsland and Victoria and we need to ensure the sector continues to strive now and into the future.

Mr Chester has written to Senator Jonathon Duniam, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie conveying the concerns of Gippsland fishermen.

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