Crabbing consultation concerns for the Clarence River

The use of crab traps is prohibited in the Clarence River upstream from the boat ramp adjacent to the Maclean Court House.Image: Patrick Linehan

THE Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party has raised concerns over a controversial proposal to allow commercial and recreational crab trapping in the Clarence River.

A DPI consultation paper has proposed the use of crab traps for commercial and recreational fishers in the Clarence River upstream from the boat ramp adjacent to the Maclean Court House, which is currently prohibited.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Mark Banasiak said recreational fishers have been left out of the consultation process.

“As far as I can see, no information has been sent out to the peak body for recreational fishers or the NSW Recreational Fishing Advisory Council (RFNSW), about the changes the DPI is proposing.

“It’s ridiculous there is no avenue for recreational fishers to have their say on this matter, DPI has completely shut them out,” Banasiak said.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Clarence spokesperson Daniel Spears has major concerns about the extension.

“If this is allowed to go ahead we will likely see the large stretch of river from the Maclean Court House to Grafton inundated with crab traps which will decimate mud crab stocks.

“The chances of recreational fishermen catching a decent feed of muddies will be nil,” Spears said.

According to Mark Banasiak, a consultation paper was released on the DPI website with no Environmental Impact Statements and no reference to any science behind the decision.

“I only became aware of these changes after Mr Spears approached me with the concerns of Clarence constituents.

“DPI and the Minister have a lot to answer for, they have told SFF that they contacted the chair of RECFISH, but we have since found that is not true.

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