A TEENAGE fisher from the Geelong region has made a proposal for sustainable fishing that is on the verge of becoming state government policy.
Xavier Ellul, from Warrnambool, came up with the idea of introducing a minimum size to protect small mako sharks.
Marty Ellul, Xavier’s father and a VRFish board member, raised the idea with VRFish, which wrote to the Victorian Fisheries Authority last month, and public consultation began on the proposed introduction of a 120cm minimum size for all species of mako shark in Victoria.
“I really enjoy fishing, especially for game fish, such as the majestic mako shark,” Xavier, 14, explained. “I’ve been really lucky to catch a few and have released a couple.
“Mako sharks need our help. They take many years to reach maturity, give birth to only a few live young at a time and live long lives.”
Mako shark fishing is popular along the Victorian coast, as is fishing for other shark species including gummy, school and bronze whalers.
Mako shark presently fit within the overarching shark category, which is subject to a bag possession limit of one per species but with 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.
“Hopefully this measure will ensure mako sharks continue their essential role as apex predators in our oceans,” Xavier said.
The idea is proving popular so far – public consultation closes on June 8 and about 99 per cent of submissions are in favour.
Last week, Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford visited Torquay Angling Club to present Xavier with a certificate of appreciation and a new fishing rod in recognition of his efforts.
“This will be good for the long term future of the species, a good thing for rec fishers and a good thing all round,” she said.