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Recreation Fishing under the spotlight with promises aplenty

Michael Daley was in Batemans Bay on February 20th to announce NSW Labor's intention to initiate RecFish NSW saying Labor will give ordinary anglers and recreational fishers across NSW a seat at the table when it comes to determining how their licence fees will be spent. In his announcement he said "Labor will establish a new independent body, known as RecFishNSW, to oversee recreational fishing in NSW. This will give anglers across NSW a real voice and real oversight over the use of their recreational fishing licence fees. As a statutory authority, RecFish NSW would improve the governance and oversight of the $15 million raised each year from recreational fishing licence fees that are placed into the Recreational Fishing Trust." "Its board would include a mix of skillsets and expertise including legal, business, and marine science, as well as elected representatives of anglers from coastal and inland regions." "Currently anglers pay their licence fees but have little idea how decisions are made over their use. This has led to a lack of trust between Government and fishers. Fishers pay their fees but have little input into where these funds are allocated. Much of the funding goes directly to NSW Fisheries." "Under RecFish NSW’s decision-making process, the Department of Primary Industries will still be able to bid for funding, but the final decision about allocating that money will be made by the independent RecFish NSW board." Mr Daley said "Recreational fishing is an important industry in NSW, there are over 770,000 anglers, generating $3.4 billion of economic output, and underpinning more than 14,000 jobs. It also is an important part of life for hundreds of thousands of NSW citizens. Mr Daley enthused “Casting a line is one of the simple joys of life, I want to ensure that my kids and their kids can continue to do so if they wish. “Anglers deserve to know where the millions they fork out in licence fees end up, and to have a real say in how that money’s used to support rec fishing across NSW. “Rather than ignoring anglers, I want to work with them and give them a seat at the table”, Mr Daley said. NSW Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Mick Veitch said, ““Recreational anglers have been telling me they are fed up with taking orders from this Government. You pay your fee, it goes to the bureaucrats, and you don’t know much beyond that.” “There is a wealth of expertise and insights in the recreational fishing sector that Government needs to work with, not against” Mr Veitch said.

Video: Michael Daley announcing RecFish NSW Meanwhile this weekend will see Eurobodalla Recreational Fishers and Boaters representatives and members meeting with Member for Bega, Andrew Constance to ask a series of pre-election questions:

The recently released RFA 8R’s. is a detailed document to be considered in conjunction with specific issues on the South Coast.

The meeting will ask "Have you a general comment to make on this document?

"Will you complete the questionnaire and return it to us prior to the election?

"Can we make your response to the questionnaire public?

"Would you approve and support to conduct an independent review of the way fishing and boating licence fees are collected and expended across NSW, ensuring transparency, accountability and value for money?

"Would you approve and support the immediate cessation of cost shifting from the Department NSW Fisheries of the Trust Funds, including funding for compliance and law enforcement, fisheries conservation, stock assessment and other basic research required to manage jointly fished stocks?

The 8 R’s website link -

The RFA voice disappointment that NSW Fisheries pulled the tender on a Peak Body for NSW.

"What is your position regarding the recreational fishing community of NSW to have their own statutory authority / body?"

In regards to the Liberal’s position with the southern fish trawl? There has been no action taken by NSW Government.

"What actions will you take to facilitate to remove the current proposal on the table and move forward by buying out the Southern Fish Trawl fishery (inside 3 NM)? What impediments are there in achieving this soon noting all stakeholder groups are in agreement to buyout the fishery.

The Member for Bega will be questioned on the Eurobodalla Council's poor use of NSW RMS and Fisheries Grants – Recreational Fishing and Boating infrastructure.

"Can you explain the disparity between the allocation of these grants in the Bega electorate area to the other electorates elsewhere in the state? What action will you take to level this playing field?"

A presentation has been provided to Council that to date has had no response.

"How can this be addressed when Council have the final say as land managers?

The recent boat ramp audit indicates poor boating/fishing facilities in Eurobodalla.

Recent advice from RMS indicates the facilities will not suffice as per the 2019/24 Boating Plans.

"Will the Liberal party support RMS in providing 100% funding (as per Sydney) to marine infrastructure boat ramps and facilities? (Fees are collected from: car rego’s, car licence, boat rego, trailer rego, boating licence, boat fuel, Maritime fee contribution) "

"Will you support the maintenance of existing local marine infrastructure and how can that be achieved outside the ESC involvement?"

"Will you support the concept of capital and maintenance grants so that facilities are maintained and have that written into the provision of money?"

"Would the Liberal party consider a Coastal Engineering Maritime Branch to provide and maintain boating facilities? What is Liberals position on managing coastal sand dredging for estuaries and bars?"

In regards to the Fishers and Boaters Licence fees allocation & Representation.

"How can these groups better represent their communities in the decision making of the allocation of their licence funds? and How can transparency be improved?"

"Do you support any form of fee reduction or maximum amount in the fee structure?"

"Would the Liberal party support a reduction in fees/rego cost (similar to caravans and camp trailers) for boats and trailers? "

Batemans Bay River Bar "Will you facilitate and support a scientific study of the hydrology and sand movement in the Bay prior to dredging starting?"

"How will you support the maintenance actions to keep the local rivers navigable and safe for boats?"

Professional Fishing netting and trapping in the Moruya River. Netting in Coila Lake.

"Several correspondences have been submitted to your office and Minister Blair yet no response. What is your position on the current professional netting and trapping in the Moruya River and Coila Lake?"

The Eurobodalla Tourism in their publications are always stating how much they rely on tourism, yet it is well known not to bother fishing in the Moruya River as it is “fished out”.

Fishing competitions are held in Narooma, Tuross and Batemans Bay in their respective waterways, but no one holds any competitions on the Moruya River. "Why, because a complete lack of fish."

It is understood the need for restricting fishing in certain areas, which in theory will conserve the fishing for the future, the need for professional fishermen to earn a living, but the balance on the surface appears to be wrong. The Moruya River and Coila Lake has been left to carry the burden of being fished to the stage where it is extremely difficult to catch fish of a legal size. "What action will you take to significantly reduce the commercial effort and let the Moruya system and Coila Lake to recover?"

Rec fishers have met with Eurobodalla council to stock Deep Creek Dam and the new dam with no commitment yet. "What is your position for access to fresh water impoundments? (Risk assessment completed by DPI). i.e. Deep Creek Dam

Rock fishing life jackets

"What is your view on Eurobodalla opting out on rock fishing life jacket option?

"Do you support the current actions to delegate the responsibilities for implementation of this to a Council level?"

"What actions will you take in Bega Valley and Eurobodalla in this regard?"

"What actions can will you take to support education of rock fishing safety within the Eurobodalla? Greater awareness needs to be achieved about the Angel Ring program and rock fishing safety at a council level."

"Would the Liberal party support a program to provide wheelchair fishing access, also for children, the elderly and those less mobile?"

Marine Parks and Sanctuary Zones Recreational Fishers demand the removal of ineffective zones created by a flawed system.

"Would the Liberal party support permission to stock fish in a marine park?

"The Batemans Marine Park – What is the Liberal party’s position on Sanctuary Zones?

"What action will you immediately take to facilitate the immediate repeal of sanctuary zones and allow recreational fishing full access?

"What is the Liberal party’s position on the Marine Estate Management Authority and its associated senior management? Serious failings in meaningful consultation has been uncovered and detected. How can we trust senior management to oversee a grand plan with personal agendas? What action will you take to see the immediate correction of the management within this authority?"

"The life saving Angel Ring Program – What action and support can you provide for the program?"

"Can you commit to funding the program as it develops and evolves?"

And from One Nation on the issue:

VIDEO : Let The Fishers Fish -One Nation’s Policy for the Promotion of Recreational Fishing in NSW

Statement by Mark Latham, NSW One Nation Leader - 12 February 2019

Fishing is part of the Australian way of life. It gives fishers a chance to catch up with their mates. It gets young people away from their computer screens, pursuing a wonderful outdoor sport. It improves physical and mental health. Whether on coastal or inland waterways, it gives people a chance to catch fresh produce and cook something special for their families.

Yet like many Australian traditions, recreational fishing is under siege. The rise of green-ideology and bureaucratic meddling has buried fishers in red tape. It’s a classic case of governmental ‘mission creep’: public servants sitting around, trying to justify their roles by inventing new regulations and restrictions.

Incredibly, the National Party and Liberals have gone down this path. As with their 2016 greyhound ban, the proposal for 25 new Fishing Lock-Out Zones along the NSW coast was a case of the Coalition doing the work of the Greens.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation strongly supports great Australian lifestyle activities like fishing. We thoroughly reject green-ideology and bureaucratic ‘mission creep’. We believe in fishing self-management with minimal government oversight.

We trust in the people pursuing their sport and recreation to act responsibly. It’s time to let adults be adults, to roll back Nanny State restrictions on fishing in NSW.

We can understand why places like the Great Barrier Reef need marine protection. But otherwise government is deluding itself if it thinks it can tightly control the seas and rivers whilst allowing the clearing of riparian and adjacent habitats, out-of-control foreshore development, urban stormwater runoff, dumping of sewage at sea, modified water flows in our bays, estuaries and rivers. Look what they have done to the Murray Darling.

It’s ridiculous for an island continent like Australia to be importing 70 percent of its seafood products – another argument for stronger domestic fishing rights and self-management. One Nation wants to help the viability of commercial fishers and reduce Australia’s reliance on imports.

In NSW, the attacks on recreational fishing need to be reversed, with a new aggressive political campaign aimed at self-management. Fishers have excellent associations like the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW, Australian Fishing Trade Association and strong local fishing clubs. They should be empowered to look after their sport and allow fishers to get on with the enjoyment of their recreation, free from Green-Nanny-State-Government. We need to reform the way we manage fisheries in NSW.

There are scores of fishing regulations One Nation opposes, in fact, too many to list. Instead, let us outline the main policy directions we will follow if elected to NSW Parliament on March 23, especially if we have the balance of power.

Here is One Nation’s 10-Point Plan:

  • Unequivocal opposition to the Government’s proposed 25 Fishing Lock-Out Zones. Plus there should be a 10-year moratorium on the creation of new marine parks – providing certainty into the future.

  • All Marine Parks legislated under the Marine Park Act should be abolished and new independent regional bodies established to manage recreational fishing. No recreational fishers should be excluded from any marine park or sanctuary zone.

  • One Nation has agreed to all 63 policy commitments sought by the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW for the 2019 State election. This is another important step towards self-management.

  • Improved fishing infrastructure, especially boat ramps, a guarantee of free parking and maintenance of road access. There should be no more NSW Government sale of access roads essential for recreational fishing.

  • All monies collected from recreational fishing and boating licence fees must be returned and spent on improved facilities and access for the sport. Fishing should not be cross-subsidising other, unrelated forms of government expenditure.

  • Closure of the Southern Fish Trawl restricted fishery, as per the agreement being reached between commercial and recreational interests. The Commonwealth should pay existing dual-licensed operators an ex-gratia payment on surrender of their NSW endorsement.

  • Declaration of Sydney Harbour as a Recreational Fishing Haven with improved environmental quality and fishing access across the waterway.

  • A thorough review of fishing regulations in NSW, with a target of reducing the regulatory burden on fishers by 90 percent – a vital step towards self-management.

  • Abolishing the Rock Fishing Safety Act, including compulsory life-jacket regulations for rockfishers in NSW. Fishers know their locations and safety requirements far better than politicians and public servants.

  • Establishing a sound, structured Independent Statutory Authority/Body to support and benefit the Recreational Fishing Community across NSW into the future that would provide long overdue efficiency, transparency and accountability.

#latest #Community #BatemansBay #Moruya #Narooma #Paper

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