Fishos urged to “Protect your patch”

IN a surprise move, NSW-based rec fishing representative group Ecofishers has decided not to go ahead with a petition to the state government to have netting banned in rivers, lakes and estuaries.

According to Ecofishers chairman Chris Wallis, “I think we have probably underestimated the far reaching effects of the commercial fishing program and how it will impact on recreational fishers.”

“We certainly need to stop any expansion of the areas to be netted and preferably a total ban in some areas but I think we must lament the very poor quality management of fisheries in NSW, he told Fisho.

In a letter sent out to Ecofisher members, the reasons for not going ahead with the petition are explained (download letter below).

In part the letter states:

We have decided not to go ahead with this petition, at least for now and we owe it to our members and supporters who have been pushing for this for some time to try to explain why.

We have good reason to believe that no matter what level of support this petition would get it would eventually finish up in the waste paper bin. This action would also pick a fight with people in the commercial fishing industry when generally speaking we have no problems with the full time operators in the industry.

The commercial netting of rivers has its many problems but the greater problem is the way the fisheries of NSW are being managed.

The current commercial fisheries reform program is a dog’s breakfast and should be abandoned immediately and the whole process taken back to square one and discussed with ALL stakeholders, commercial and recreational.

The problem for rec fishers is under the current proposals not only would netting not be reduced but the potential is there to have many estuaries previously exempt from netting being opened up. This would be devastating to fish stocks, habitat and local economies.

Read the Ecofishers letter in full HERE. Public submissions on NSW commercial fishing reforms close on May 30 – See a related opinion piece HERE.

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