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ARFF slam Geelong Star’s broken promise

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ARFF’s Allan Hansard.

THE Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the peak national body representing Australia’s recreational fishing community has expressed disappointment and concern that the Geelong Star operators have not heeded advice from ARFF or honoured undertakings made at a meeting with the Government, Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), ARFF and the vessel operators before Christmas.

This follows reports that the Geelong Star has been fishing the popular and iconic recreational fishing grounds off Bermagui on the South coast of NSW in recent days after ARFF advised them not to fish these areas.

A press release from Assistant Minister for Fisheries, Anne Ruston following the meeting said:

“In addition, Seafish Tasmania also agreed that the Geelong Star voluntarily agreed to avoid fishing near major game fishing tournaments.

“The operators of the Geelong Star assured the meeting that best endeavours will be made to minimise interactions between the vessel and recreational fishers.

Allan Hansard managing director of ARFF said: “We are disappointed that the Geelong Star operators have not honoured these undertakings as the vessel has been reported fishing off Bermagui when the Bermagui game fishing tournament starts on 25 January.”

“In addition, we are still in the Christmas, New Year holiday period where thousands of families converge on the south coast of NSW to go fishing. The fishing operations of the vessel were reported to us by recreational fishers in the area, so it is hard to see how the vessel owners are using their “best endeavours” to minimise interactions with recreational fishers.

“These recent actions have put a cloud over future talks about the operations of the Geelong Star scheduled for early February. Unfortunately, their actions have also brought into question the value of such talks,” Hansard said.

Minister Ruston’s press release can be found here.

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