Published: 15 December 2022 Updated: 20 December 2022
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DATE 20 Dec 2022
FEEDBACK/STORY SUGGESTIONS Angela Tsang Digital Communications +61 2 6122 2100

Decades of effort focused on sustainable fishing and healthy ecosystems, underpin the increasing value of provenance and traceability for seafood from Victoria’s Corner Inlet Nooramunga Fishery.  

By Catherine Norwood


Victoria’s Corner Inlet Nooramunga Fishery, 160 kilometres southeast of Melbourne is the state’s only remaining bay and inlet commercial net fishery, and it provides between 400 and 500 tonnes of seafood a year – mostly to the Victorian market. 

The catch includes more than 20 species, with customer favourites such as King George Whiting, Garfish, Rock Flathead and Southern Calamari among the most sought-after. 

There are 18 commercial fishers who operate in Corner Inlet; most are third-generation fishers, and all are keen to protect the health and longevity of their fishery. Luke Anedda is among them, a third-generation fisher, or fourth generation if you count his great, great uncle who first moved to the area from Sicily at the turn of the 19th Century.


Luke Anedda and children. Photo supplied.

Luke Anedda and children. Photo supplied.


Luke says the inlet’s commercial fishers have long been involved in initiatives to help protect the future of the fishery. In the 1980s, Luke’s father Nick developed new fishing methods for the relatively shallow waters of the bay that are more selective and help to reduce bycatch – world-leading techniques that are still used today. 

The fishers have also been active in advocating for their best practice fishing guidelines to be incorporated into regulations for commercial fishing to win support from government and protect the future of commercial operations. 

They spent much of 2021 working with government, recreational fishers and Traditional Owners to develop a management plan that was endorsed by all participants early in 2022.  “There’s an advisory committee that will help to oversee the plan and we will be holding our first official meeting in December 2022, with three commercial fishers on the committee,” Luke says. 

Corner Inlet fishers are also integral to the Corner Inlet Partner Group, coordinated by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA). The group is focused on protecting the broader marine ecosystems of Corner Inlet and the adjacent Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park, as well as on fishery performance measures. 

In 2013 the group began working on an FRDC-supported project that identified poor quality runoff from the catchment as contributing to a decline in the health of seagrasses in the inlet. Extensive seagrass beds along the coastline provide crucial habitat and food for a variety of fish species, particularly for juvenile fish. Fishers worked with the WGCMA, local farming groups and landholders to improve the quality of run-off and restore the health of seagrass beds. 

A further FRDC-funded project, Protect your catchment, protect your catch, supported a community extension event in 2016 to celebrate the success of the collaborative project in supporting the health of marine ecosystems. The event also extended community awareness of the interconnected health of land and marine ecosystems. 

In another more recent project, the Corner Inlet Partner Group has been involved in efforts to remove native purple-spined sea urchins from Corner Inlet and the marine park. 

Luke says an explosion in the sea urchin population in 2017 posed another threat to the seagrasses in the area, which were eaten out in some areas leaving marine deserts, also known as urchin barrens. Although divers removed almost 57,000 urchins by hand, the broadleaf seagrasses in the area have been slow to re-establish. 

Luke and other Corner Inlet fishers are members of the Yarram Yarram Landcare Network and they help to collect seagrass seeds each year and replant them to restore the seagrass beds. “The seagrass is really what makes our fishery so special, and that’s how I came to be involved with the Landcare network,” says Luke. 

The local fishers also assisted with another FRDC-funded project in 2020 to tag and track Rock Flathead as part of research to better understand the population of this important target species. The project followed several years of poor recruitment for flathead although Luke says the population looks to be more abundant this year.  

He says all of this work contributes to the sustainability of the fishery and is an important part of the provenance story for Corner Inlet seafood, contributing to premium prices for the catch.  It underpins demand from leading Australian chefs such as Ben Shewry and Neil Perry for seafood that they can trust as being sustainably harvested.  

He says this, in turn, highlights the importance of traceability, to ensure that buyers are actually getting what they are paying for, and to protect the product quality and reputation of the fishery. 

Luke works with the Two Hands company which has a traceability system utilising blockchain and QR codes to track the product from the boat to the restaurant. “One of the restaurants we sell to actually provides the QR codes to diners so they can scan it to see exactly who caught the fish they’re about to eat and where it came from,” Luke explains.  

“So, traceability and provenance are a massive thing for me, but sustainability is the most important of all.”  

With seafood a highlight of summer menus in Australia, he expects strong demand for his catch, particularly from Victorian buyers who, he says, are keen to support their own fishers.  

“But we eat a lot of our fish during the year, so at Christmas, we like to have something a bit different, some prawns and crayfish, for instance,” says Luke. “But there will definitely be plenty of seafood on the menu.” 

See more: 

  • 2013-021 - Using local knowledge to understand linkages between ecosystem processes, seagrass change and fisheries productivity to improve ecosystem-based management 
  • 2016-254 - "Protect your catchment, protect your catch" - a collaborative initiative to boost fishery productivity in Corner Inlet 
  • 2017-092 - Valuing Victoria's Wild-catch fisheries and aquaculture industries 
  • 2020-003 - Understanding the stock structure of Rock Flathead and the role of movement dynamics in influencing the performance of the Corner Inlet fishery 


This relates to R&D Plan Outcomes 1 & 3