Anglers feeling hoodwinked over fishing “bans”

AS reported previously, fishos in the Northern Territory are up in arms over newly implemented Reef Fish Protection Areas in which commercial fishing is still occurring. 

In introducing the RFPAs the NT Government had told the Territory’s anglers that all forms of fishing would be banned in the protection zones to ensure the long term future the fishery and in particular, highly pressured reef fish species such as golden snapper and jewfish.

It has since been revealed that commercial fishing is still taking place in the implemented RFPAs and local anglers are undertandably angry.

See previous story here.

Veteran NT fishing writer Alex Julius says news of the development came via rec fishermen who observed a commercial Spanish mackerel fisherman catching fish inside a reef fish protection area, and contacted a Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee (RFAC) member to report it.  

Julius wrote in an NT News article, “You may think it’s weird, nonsensical, even ridiculous that any form of commercial fishing is allowed in areas that are totally closed to recreational fishing of any sort.”

“I think that, and so do AFANT president Warren de With, the entire AFANT Committee, and each and every member of the Government’s own Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee (RFAC).”

“At no stage during the discussions on this issue was AFANT or any other member of RFAC advised that commercial fishing, regardless of technique used or species targeted, was allowed to operate within these reef fish protection areas” wrote Warren de With in an offical AFANT media release.

Since the issue was first revealed, Julius says things have escalated further with Fisheries Minister Willem Westra van Holthe stating publicly that former AFANT executive officer Craig Ingram was told by department officers that some commercial fishing would be allowed in the Reef Fish Protection Areas.

When contacted by Julius, Craig Ingram denied emphatically that he was briefed by Fisheries staff that some forms of commercial fishing would be allowed in the protected areas.

“There’s no way I was told … if I had been told that, I would have said ‘No’,” Ingram said.

Meanwhile, the NT’s anglers are understandably feeling deceived by their fisheries department.

Read Alex Julius’ article in the NT News here.

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.