Netting plans quashed

CONTENTIOUS proposals to allow netting in important sport fisheries as part of a reform of the NSW commercial fishing industry should be removed from the restructure agenda, an independent committee has advised.

Discussion papers recently released by the NSW Government contained a “wish list” submitted by some commercial operators wanting access to net a range of popular estuary systems along the NSW coast.

These proposals created a storm of protest from the recreational sector. However, Fisho now understands the Structural Adjustment Review Committee (SARC) has advised NSW Fisheries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson that proposals allowing extra mesh netting should not proceed.

It is understood that the Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council (MFAC), which provides high level advice to Minister Hodgkinson, supports the SARC recommendation.

Moves to prevent mesh netting in key estuaries will be applauded by NSW anglers.

However, concerns about other elements proposed by commercial interests – including changes to other methods and equipment used in the estuary fishery and in beach hauling operations – remain and will need to be addressed.

Reform and restructure of the commercial sector in NSW is considered “vital” as the industry is overcrowded and inefficient. The Government has provided $15m to assist this restructure.

It is understood that MFAC has advised the Minister of its strong support for effective reform of the commercial sector in NSW while highlighting that any restructure moves should not disadvantage the state’s 1 million recreational anglers.

More details on the reform agenda HEREHERE and HERE.

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