APOLLO Bay’s reputation as a destination for game fishing has received a boost with the installation of a new $24,500 gantry to weigh catches up to 500 kilograms.
The gantry is funded by the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s Better Fishing Facilities Fund, part of the state government’s $46 million Target One Million plan to grow participation to a million anglers by 2020.
Shire mayor Joe McCracken said the gantry would help Apollo Bay lure anglers looking to land large sharks and “barrels” (tuna weighing 100 kilograms or more).
“Council is really pleased to deliver this gantry, which was the missing link for Apollo Bay’s growing recreational fishing industry.
“Interest in Apollo Bay as a tuna fishing destination has been growing since 2011, when Apollo Bay’s Daniel Kent, along with his mates Troy Janssens and Dean Candy hauled in a 153.5 kilogram monster tuna.
“There have been several very large sharks landed off the bay, too, with the local record being a 311 kilogram mako caught by former Colac Otway mayor Frank Buchanan, his brother Charlie, Bill Fox and Brian Neale.
“We know that the anglers targeting the big fish species want to weigh their catch.
“Given that Melbourne anglers can fish out of Apollo Bay as a day trip, we think this gantry is going to help give the Bay a competitive edge over the likes of Portland and Port Fairy.”
He said it would help boost tourism and support the local economy.
“In fact, the Victorian Fisheries Authority estimated that on the big fishing day in 2011, when up to 230 boats and trailers were lined up through town, the economic spin-off from that day alone was more than $20,000.”
He paid tribute to Cr Chris Potter, who worked hard during his mayoral term to secure the gantry for Apollo Bay.
“Cr Potter, along with Andrew Orchard from the Apollo Bay Fishing Group and Daniel Roberts from Council’s services and operations team worked really hard to bring the gantry project to reality.”
To ensure public safety, the gantry will be locked and can only be operated by trained permit holders.
The shire manages the Port of Apollo Bay on behalf of the state government.