Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has officially opened the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) offices today in Lakes Entrance.
The offices are located in the Federation Training building on Bullock Island.
Mr Chester used the opportunity to meet local fishing industry representatives from the trawl, scallop and squid fisheries and to tour a trawl vessel.
“Lakes Entrance is Australia’s largest fishing port by volume of fish and the expanded presence of AFMA here is very important to the sustainable management of our fisheries,” said Mr Chester.
“The Commonwealth commercial fishing fleet based in Lakes Entrance brought around $22.4 million into the Australian economy in 2016-17 and delivers fresh flathead, gummy shark, whiting, scallops and squid to fish and chip shops, supermarkets and fish markets around the country.
“There will be eight AFMA staff based in Lakes Entrance, which will help to reduce red tape for the fishing industry, and what better place to be than across the road from the Lakes Entrance Fisherman’s Co-op.”
Mr Chester said decentralisation was an important way to grow regional communities like Lakes Entrance and bring government decision-makers closer to the people they serve.
“It will create more jobs in our local community and it will bring more people into our community to support the local community and with skills to contribute to volunteer and community groups,” Mr Chester said.