Fishing under threat from NSW animal welfare reform

NSW recreational fishers are encouraged to make submissions to a NSW Department of Primary Industries discussion paper that could affect how we are allowed to fish in the future.

The NSW government says it is “modernising and streamlining animal welfare laws” and are inviting the public to have their say.

The NSW DPI Animal Welfare Reform – Discussion Paper outlines detailed policy proposals for the new legislation and explains their intended effect.

Currently, the paper confirms that the updated legislation does not affect the lawful activity of fishing (see Proposal 3) and provides clarity that using a live fish, cephalopod or decapod crustacean as bait is not an offence (see Proposal 8).

The Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW (RFA) says the process is “fundamentally sound and many of its proposals deserve public support. But fishers must provide submissions to reinforce the relevant proposals (Proposal 3 and 8).”

But the RFA warns that recreational fishing is under increasing pressure from extremist animal rights groups eager to ban the use of live bait when fishing, via their members’ submissions.

NSW Legislative Council member Emma Hurst (Animal Justice Party) said in March this year, “Fish feel pain, they are self-aware, they remember, they build relationships and exhibit emotional responses. Deliberately inflicting pain and suffering on these sentient animals can not be ignored – especially when the fishing industry kills more individual animals than any other form of animal slaughter.”

A statement based on results of studies of marginal scientific merit.

You can have your say before 17 September 2021 by filling out an online survey.

Alternatively, submissions can be emailed to
or posted to:
Department of Primary Industries
c/o Animal Welfare
Locked Bag 21
Orange NSW 2800

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