Minister cans netting plans

COMMERCIAL netters have failed in a bid to gain access to prime sportfishing areas following a decision announced today by NSW Fisheries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson.

As previously reported by Fisho, some netters had been pushing for extra access to a number of estuary systems in order to “offset” a series of reforms planned for the commercial fishing sector.

The netting “wish list” attracted widespread public opposition and resulted in the independent Structural Adjustment Review Committee (SARC) officially advising the Minister against approving any increase in commercial access.

According to the Minister, today’s decision means there will now not be any changes in the following estuaries: Bournda Lagoon and Sandy Beach Creek; Merimbula Lake; Patonga Creek; Bonville and Pine Creeks; Newport and Boambee Creeks; Jerusalem Creek; Evans River; Mooball Creek; and Cudgen Creek.

The Minister has also ruled out netting increases in Pittwater, in Sydney’s north.

Fisho understands these decisions relate only to mesh netting.

“The NSW Government has listened to feedback and issues raised as part of our comprehensive consultation process (about the commercial industry review),” Ms Hodgkinson said.

Ms Hodgkinson said SARC is reviewing the review options and will undertake further targeted consultation before providing recommendations to the NSW Government.

“The NSW Government is committed to getting this reform right, which is why additional time has been provided for the independent SARC to tailor options.”

While welcoming news the estuary meshing proposals have been officially quashed, angler organisations remain extremely concerned about other aspects of the commercial review process, including possible changes to beach hauling rules as well as estuary hauling issues.

Fisho understands angling representatives will be seeking assurances from Minister Hodgkinson that any changes to the commercial fishing industry will not have a negative impact on the recreational sector.


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