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Have Your Say On the Future Of Fishing

By Dan Trotter on July 23, 2013 in Other

Photo: John F. Kennedy Library

Photo: John F. Kennedy Library

While it’s not time to pack away your fishing tackle just yet (wait for August and September to do all the servicing and repairs you keep putting off), this month’s column is all about the future of fisheries management and how it will impact upon recreational anglers in NSW.

Now is the time to have your say. Why? Because the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has put forward a review of the bag and size limits and associated rules for all species deemed recreationally important within NSW waters, and they are asking for your comments.

The discussion paper forms the basis of what is a really important, in-depth review of the rules and regulations currently in place. The bag limit has been halved for almost all species and the legal size limits for many species have been reduced or changed.

Since the paper was released, intense debate has taken place. Anglers, political parties and businesses involved in the recreational fishing sector have all waded into the online public debate, with some pretty heavy opinions being expressed.

I, for one, think the changes proposed within the discussion paper are long overdue. The recommendations are based on research into the stock status of species and, while a general approach across the species has been taken, the limits are in keeping with the ever-increasing pressure that a growing population brings. For too long, bag and possession limits for many popular species have been ridiculous. Having fished for the better part of the last two decades, I have only witnessed bag limit catches on two occasions; in both instances there were so many fish the anglers couldn’t even give them all away.

The review has a disappointing omission: one fish that was mysteriously left out was the once mighty Mulloway or Jewfish, and no one I have spoken to can figure out why. Mulloway are recognised as one of the most heavily fished recreational species in NSW, and their declining stock status would have made them a sure shot for a reduction in bag limits, but, alas, not even a mention.

Now, and very importantly, keen anglers reading this must get active, get online and complete the submission form. Don’t miss out on having your say. These changes will have an impact on you and on future generations.

Even more importantly, before you go racing off to the screen to read the discussion paper and fill in your submission, please think clearly about what you write.

It has been pointed out to me that one area lacking in all of this is that while recreational bag limits are about to be severely reduced, there is no mention of a reduction in the quota imposed on commercial fishing. The argument is a strong one. What good is a reduction in bag limits to protect fish stocks when just around the corner from your favourite fishing spot the local pro is netting everything you let go or leave for another day?

You can read the review of NSW recreational saltwater and freshwater fishing rules discussion paper here:
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/464765/review_discussion_paper_web.pdf

You’ll find the submission form here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/nswfishreview2013

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