AFTA calls for Port Phillip Bay rec fishing reserve

THE Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) has asked the next Government of Victoria to establish Port Phillip Bay as a recreational fishing reserve.

AFTA, the national peak body representing the suppliers of goods and services to Australia’s five-­‐million recreational fishers, has submitted a letter titled, “A New Vision for Recreational Fishing in Victoria,” (see outline below) which asks the leaders of the major political parties to established and manage Port Phillip Bay as a world‐class recreational fishing reserve.

AFTA Chief Executive Allan Hansard said: “This means curtailing or removing any commercial or other activities that have an unsustainable effect on our key fisheries, impact on important and sensitive marine habitat, or deplete key recreational fishing species close to shore or recreational fishing access points.”

“More than 1 million Victorians go fishing each year and spend around $2 billion doing so. The economic, social and environmental benefits of creating a recreational fishing reserve on the doorstep of Australia’s second biggest city will be significant,” said Hansard.

“This is a true win-­‐win situation. It would generate much needed economic activity for the state, would create real marine conservation benefits and protect fish stocks for future generations. Port Phillip Bay would become a truly family fishing-friendly place.

“The Australian Fishing Trade Association welcomes the response of the major parties and looks forward to working with the next Government of Victoria in establishing the world class Port Phillip Bay recreational fishing reserve.” said Hansard.

Protecting Australia’s Fishing Future

Port Phillip Bay – Recreational Fishing Reserve

The Vision:
To establish Port Phillip Bay as a Recreational Fishing Reserve – a world-­‐class recreational fishery on the door step of Australia’s second largest city.

What’s required?
To achieve this vision will require a paradigm change in the way Governments, the general community and even recreational fishers think about the way we manage our fisheries. It’s about recognising the significant economic, social and environmental benefits recreational fishing can bring to the Australian community and particularly to the residents of Melbourne and Victoria.

This will mean:
• Recreational fishing is the principal objective for management of the fishery.
• It is sustainably managed for all aspects of recreational fishing.
• It is managed to promote the significant economic, social and environmental benefits that recreational fishing brings to the Victorian community.

This will mean removing, with appropriate structural adjustment, any commercial fishing activities that:
• are not sustainable for fish stocks and creates localised depletion of key recreational fishing species;
• adversely impacts on marine habitat and water quality essential for our recreational fishery;
• adversely impacts on the recreational fishing experience in key recreational fishing areas; and
• adversely impacts on the recreational fishing opportunity in key recreational fishing areas.

This will mean improving shore and on water access to the fishery for recreational fishers -­ including:
• boat ramp infrastructure;
• piers, jetties and other onshore infrastructure; and
• shorelines.

This will mean ensuring industry development has minimal impact on the marine environment, including:
• marine habitat;
• water quality; and
• fish stocks.

Any impacts should be compensated for by environmental offsets that more than offset the impacts of the development.

Industry development offsets should also be designed to improve recreational fishing access and experience.

This will mean ensuring fresh local seafood is available through fishing methods that are consistent with the above principles.

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