The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke this week released a draft discussion paper that aims to help shape the future of recreational fishing.
The paper was developed by the Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee, which was established by the minister to provide expert industry advice to the Rudd Government. The committee, consisting of young leaders to highly experienced fisheries scientists and managers, met with recreational fishers across Australia to consult on the directions of the draft discussion paper, Recreational Fishing in Australia – 2010 and Beyond.
“Recreational fishing is a vital industry for many regional and rural areas that is enjoyed by millions of Australians, providing jobs and injecting funds into local economies,” Burke said.
”The Rudd Government will continue to help the sector plan ahead to ensure it is sustainable for the long-term. The committee said industry would like to see better promotion of the importance of recreational fishing and to ensure the industry has a plan to help manage our fish resources.”
“The Government is providing up to $500,000 to help scope and implement a coordinated national data collection project for recreational fishing in Australia.
“We want to build on existing work by the states and territories and community-based recreational fishing organisations and encourage a nationally consistent approach.”
Burke said he had asked the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) to work with the advisory committee to coordinate the project and seek co-investment from state and territory governments and industry organisations.
Recfish Australia, the peak national body for recreational fishing today welcomed the announcement of the discussion paper.
In a press statement Recfish says the draft discussion paper is part of a $2 million 2007 election promise to review the 1994 National Policy on Recreational Fishing.
“The original 1994 National Policy was a well intended document but it lacked mechanisms and a will to see the policy translated into actions.” said Recfish Australia Chair, Frank Prokop.
“This new strategy has several key actions associated with it, along with some initial funding to kick start these actions.”
“Recfish Australia enjoys a positive relationship with the FRDC as one of their representative organisations, and in partnership with Recfishing Research, has identified many of the priorities reflected in the national strategy.
“The nation’s most recent statistics for recreational fishing are now ten years old and it’s impossible to make meaningful comment about our industry without updated statistics. Recfish Australia is ready to assist the minister in delivering this strategy and will be working closely with the advisory committee and the FRDC,” added Prokop.
Recreational fishers are urged to contact their local recreational fishing associations and put forward their views on the draft discussion paper by 30 April 2010.
The discussion paper can be downloaded at: www.daff.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/rfids