Game fishers wary of publicising captures online

A recreational game fishing boat. Image: Patrick Linehan

ACCORDING to a recent article by the ABC, NSW game fishers are reportedly cautious about publicising catches online due to growing criticism about the sport.

The article comes after the recent capture of an International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) record breaking 315kg tiger shark caught off Sydney, while a 412kg mako shark was caught off Jervis Bay only days later.

Luke Palmer, owner of a bait and tackle shop in the Illawarra region told the ABC that anglers are within their rights to take the fish.

“When it’s all done right, under the rules and regulations, there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing.” Palmer said.

The New South Wales Game Fishing Association has offered a guideline to members about the content they share online.

“In the past few years we’ve introduced a social media policy that basically sets out a guideline for what they’re allowed to speak about publicly and how they’re portrayed publicly,” said association president Garry Chenoweth.

“There are some people who are a little bit afraid of the backlash of going out there and weighing a fish — even though 90 per cent of the time they’re taking it for food and what they’re doing is legal.” Chenoweth said.

Mr Chenoweth also acknowledged that fewer trophy fish are being kept for records.

“It’s not something we do very often anymore, and more tournaments are now aimed at the tag and release rather than the weighing of fish,

“Fishermen are not just blindly out there catching every fish and then weighing them.” he said.

Over 460,000 fish have been tagged and released by recreational anglers under the NSW Game Fish Tagging program, contributing valuable data to fisheries science. Image: Patrick Linehan

Shark scientist with the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Leonardo Guida, told the ABC:

“People are being more vocal in their concern for the conservation of an incredibly important animal for our ecosystems and, as a result, they’re getting quite loud and quite vocal about it and trying to find ways to communicate their concerns and desires to improve conservation efforts,”

Dr Guida also said fishermen could play an important role in assisting with scientific research and marine conservation.

“It comes down to providing recreational fishing communities, and game fishing clubs, with the right kind of advice so that they can best monitor their fishers, have their best practices in place, and really fish responsibly,”

Recreational anglers are anticipating a great bluewater game fishing season this summer.

“We’ve had an exceptional year on yellowfin tuna — some have said the best in 30 years or so,” Palmer told the ABC.

“Why those big fish are here is because the bait’s here, and when you’ve got the bait here you’ve got other fish tracking other fish, so it looks like an outstanding summer season.” he said.

Source: ABC

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