One of the largest employers in the region is the fishing industry, incorporating trawl, shark, abalone, crayfish and squid sectors. These boats can be seen from the Portland Trawler Wharf. In fact, Portland’s fishing fleet lands up to 40% of Victoria’s catch. There are also direct employment spin-offs resulting from this industry, such as fish processing, marine engineering, transport, ship building and maintenance, fueling, providores and associated businesses.
Commercial Fishing in Portland includes visiting squid boats, abalone diving, two shark boats catching gummy shark, five local trawlers plus visiting trawlers, 6 lobster boats fish Western Victoria, some of these target giant crab at times and 4 boats fishing in Tasmanian waters for lobster and giant crab.
There is a small number of fisheries catching pippies in Discovery Bay, some for human consumption and some for bait.
Except for squid most fish stocks are managed by quota allocation. All Australian Fisheries are required by the Commonwealth Government to be sustainable by independent stock assessments. Quotas for each species are set accordingly. A total quota is set annually and allocated to individual license holders. The quota can be sold or leased between licence holders.
The Lobster season runs from the 15th November through until 15th September however the quota is generally caught by the end of February.
Two shops in Portland sell trawl fish and lobster fresh off the boats. Squid is processed locally at a factory
Abalone is processed at a local factory.
Most of the lobster is sold live into China.