Bag limits review draws negative response

THE Sydney Morning Herald reports anglers in NSW have lodged over 3500 submissions for the Department of Primary Industries’ review of bag limits.

The review, which has been extended until the end of August, has recommended a 50 per cent reduction in bag limits for popular species such as snapper, flathead, tailor, trevally, luderick and bream and has been widely criticised by rec fishing groups.

President of the Australian National Sportfishing Association NSW branch, Stan Konstantaras, described the review process as ”lazy” and lacking any solid science.

”The first question you have to ask is, ‘Are recreation fishing stocks in danger?’ That question hasn’t been answered ever,” he told the Herald.

He said the review ignored community concerns about commercial fishing activities such as the netting of estuaries.

”Instead it has just proposed a broad-brush 50 per cent reduction in recreational fishing bag limits. They have taken the easy option. It’s no different to the debate we had around marine parks and the sanctuary zones, there was no science there either.”

The review recommends even tougher bag limits for some deep-water species. A reduction of 60 per cent (five to two) in the daily limit is proposed for blue-eye trevalla, banded rock cod, hapuka and gemfish.

In responding to criticism, NSW Primary Industries rec fisheries manager Bryan van der Walt told the Herald “We’ve developed the discussion paper in light of a lot of issues.” 

”The recreational sector in NSW is a large sector – there are 1 million fishers in NSW – so we do these reviews periodically, the last one was in 2007. Between reviews we get a lot of representations from the community about various things.

”One of those things is the potential reduction in bag limits which provides for greater conservation of our fish stocks but also a fairer sharing of the catch.”

Not all anglers disagree with the proposed blanket reductions. Anthony Stokman, who operates Topcat fishing charters at Batemans Bay, said he liked the fact they were halving the limits.

”A lot of clients are catching and releasing [fish] these days.”

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To have your say on the NSW DPI’s proposed size and bag limits, discussion papers and submission forms are available at tackle shops and fisheries offices throughout NSW. Copies of the paper can also be found online at

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