AFTER years of disunity, infighting and apathy, the fishing and boating sectors seem ready to form an alliance to present a united voice to government on issues affecting angling access and to counter extremist green minorities.
Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) president Bruce Alvey detailed moves to form a Fishing and Boating Alliance in a speech given at the recent AFTA Tackle Show on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
The AFTA-led initiative would align industry bodies across fishing, boating and outboard engines sectors with the aim of collectively lobbying governments on issues affecting these industries, such as marine park closures, Alvey said.
However, one potential partner – the outboard sector – has requested further clarification on the lobbying process AFTA intends to use before it commits to the alliance.
Alvey said the high number of fishing boat users was one reason the marine industries should work together in the role of government representation.
“Everyone will be able to come together and say to the pollies, “‘our industry amounts to X amount of dollars and X amount of jobs,'” he said.
The AFTA move seems to be attracting support amongst the boating and tackle sector. Tackle industry sources Fisho spoke to at the trade show said forming an alliance with the boating sector was a positive move. “It’s about time we all worked together,” one senior tackle industry spokesman said.
The NSW Boating Industry Association would fully support the proposal, NSW BIA GM Roy Privett told Fisho.
“Marine parks are a crucial issue for both fishing and recreational boating and AFTA worked very hard to bring together an alliance of organisations,” Privett said.
“In the past, organisations have approached government individually. For the first time this alliance will give us an opportunity to sharpen our focus on this particular [marine parks] issue.
“As we speak stakeholder workshops are being held around the country and it’s crucial we form an alliance of these groups and have a lobbyist in Canberra to make sure our interests are represented.”
Interestingly, NSW BIA is the sole state boating organisation not included in the newly restructured national boating association, the Australian Marine Industries Federation (AMIF). AMIF is reportedly support of the AFTA alliance.
In a move which could cause the fledgling alliance some problems, Outboard Engine Distributors Association (OEDA) chairman Greg Haines said the association had asked its executive officer, Lindsay Grenfell, to request AFTA to clarify its lobbying plans before agreeing to join the alliance.
“In principle OEDA is for the proposal, however we’re not happy the person AFTA presented as the lobbyist for Canberra,” said Haines.
The lobbyist presented to OEDA is Dean Logan, a Canberra-based lobbyist who heads up a group called Small to Medium Enterprise Australia, a peak body for SMEs across Australia.
Fisho will keep you up-to-date on the progress of the Fishing and Boating Alliance over coming months. For the record, we are strongly supportive of AFTA working with the boating sector to influence government towards providing a better deal for Australia’s millions of anglers. We would urge all parties involved to work together pro-actively to generate the best possible outcomes.
Fishing World publisher Jim Harnwell has written an opinion article showing how US data reveals the economic worth of the fishing sector to the boating industry and how important it is for all fishing and boating businesses to work together to lobby government to improve fishing access and rights. You can read the article here.