Project number: 2010-214
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $75,000.00
Principal Investigator: Phillip Kerr
Organisation: Victorian Indigenous Seafood Corporation (VISC)
Project start/end date: 31 May 2010 - 30 Nov 2011



Distinct rights exist for Indigenous people as part of their rights to self-determination. These rights should be recognised as inherent and holistic. They are:

- Customary fishing rights of Indigenous communities along the coastal and river systems; and
- Human rights to maintain a cultural economy

Human rights to maintain a ‘cultural economy’ relate to Indigenous communities being able to undertake activities that secure sustainable capital from the natural resources that traditionally and historically belong to each community.

Victorian Commercial Eel Industry

A large component of eel production is from stock enhancement of open waters. Small eels are stocked into selected waters for extensive on growing under natural conditions.

The wild harvest component of the fishery is comprised largely of migrating adult eels.

Since 1994, a protracted drought has seen a significant decrease from both stock-enhanced and wild eel production. This has resulted in a need to re-evaluate the viability of the Victorian fishery to ensure future sustainability.

Intensive eel aquaculture production is dominated by one company, Australian Aquaculture Products (AAP) who have a 120 tonne per annum system based in Euroa.

AAP have realised that growing eels to a previous market size of 1 kilo plus is financially unviable using a 120 tonne intensive system. They now grow glass eels (sourced from QLD) to approximately 60 grams, where these ‘advanced stockers’ are then sold live overseas to be grown out in farm dams to a currently production volume of 2500-3000 tonne per annum.

The specific needs identified include;

- Indigenous Human Rights to maintain a cultural economy
- Protracted drought conditions have resulted in the Victorian eel wild catch and stock enhancement sector becoming unviable
- The Australian seafood industry is missing out on an opportunity to ongrow 2,500 – 3,000 tonne per annum of eels.


1. Build on, and coordinate strategies to address recommendations and actions identified in the ‘Feasibility assessment for a large scale Eel farm in South West Victoria’.
2. Develop a process of incorporating cultural considerations into development of a joint business between the eel industry MOU participants and the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust

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