NSW heads to the polls this weekend and Fishing World asked the major and minor parties a series of questions relating to their fishing policies.
See below statements from the Liberal Nationals and Labor, plus some questions & answerrs and policies from the Greens, One Nation and the Shooters, Fishers & Farmers Party.
Statement attributable to Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders
“Recreational fishing is extremely valuable to our coastal and inland communities and the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to driving the $3.4 billion sector forward.
In 2022, a total of 129 new projects worth $21 million were approved for funding through the Recreational Fishing Trusts, going towards new fishing platforms, cleaning tables, improved infrastructure, fish aggregating devices, offshore artificial reefs, and hundreds of community fishing events.
To date over 4.2 million fish have been released into NSW waters through Government and volunteer events in the 2022/23 season, including a record 1.28 million Murray cod that were produced at the flagship DPI Narrandera Fisheries Centre.
This Government is also committed to repairing and sustaining our marine estate, which is why we announced $30 million a year for the next 6 years for our Marine Estate Management Strategy (MEMS) as part of the 2022-23 Budget.
A draft Management Plan for the NSW Mainland Marine Park Network (2021-2031) has been developed by the Marine Estate Management Authority as part of stage one of the new management planning process.
The draft plan will guide marine park management over the next ten years.
Our oceans and aquatic estate are a shared resource managed for the entire community including commercial, recreational and cultural fishing.
Our goal is to create a healthy and sustainable fisheries estate for everyone to enjoy and the best way to achieve that is to have everyone under the same roof.
This Government has a proven track record when it comes to supporting our rec fishers and we will continue to create new opportunities and protect the natural resources they rely on into the future.”
NSW Labor Recreational Fishing Policy
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Mick Veitch.
- NSW Labor will consult and review the best funding and governance models to establish a statutory Recreational Fishing industry body – RecFishNSW. NSW Labor will legislate the establishment of this body. This will ensure that representation is fair, expert-based, independent and in part elected by recreational fishing licensees.
- We will conduct an audit of the Recreational Fishing Trust and act on any recommendations presented by the audit.
- We will engage with all stakeholders to actively increase participation rates of women and people with a disability. This will include an audit of public fishing infrastructure and amenities to make fishing more accessible and welcoming for women and people with disabilities. We will also evaluate the Queensland and Victorian programs to determine a suitable participation strategy for NSW.
- NSW Labor will review the Trout Cod program and develop a long-term plan to save the native fish.
- Labor also commits to implementing all recommendations of the Legislative Council Inquiry into the Commencement of the Fisheries Management Amendment Act 2009, including actively engaging Indigenous Compliance Officers.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party
1.Does the SFF have a policy on recreational fishing?
Yes we do, this has been drafted with direct consultation with recreational fishers, please see link
2.Would the SFF ensure the overdue NSW Marine Park review takes place?
Yes, our Right to Fish bill 2019 had amendments in place that forced a review as well as a moratorium on any new marine parks. This bill was voted against by both major parties.
3. How will you ensure growth in NSW rec fishing? For example, increased funding for fish stocking, better access to fishing, boat ramps etc.
We will continue to advocate, agitate, and lobby through all possible means possible. In this last four years we have used our positions as chairs on key portfolio committees to expose flaws in our boating now grants, the misuse of our recreational fishing trusts, part of our right to fish bill included proper auditing and transparency if our trusts.
4. How would you ensure popular recreational fish species such as mulloway, snapper or kingfish aren’t exploited by commercial interests?
It is critical that all decisions regarding species us done based on solid research, unfortunately SFF has successfully exposed through estimates that many of popular species are lacking in up to date research, and decision-making around these species for commercial, recreational and cultural fishing have not been transparent, we will continue to advocate that all decisions are transparent and are based on the best available and most up to date research and all stakeholders are genuinely consulted as part of any change.
5.Would you support an option of stand-alone recreational fishing department, separate from competing interests inside Primary Industries.
Our Right to Fish bill 2019 included a statutory authority for recreational fishing, this was designed by direct consultation with Recreational Fishers, once again this bill was voted down by the two major parties.
Attributable to Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and marine spokesperson
1. Do the Greens have a policy on recreational fishing?
The Greens want to ensure that there are plenty of fish in the sea for future generations. This means ensuring that all fishing that does occur must be done so sustainably and without impacting fish stocks over the long term. Our marine environment policy supports sustainable recreational and commercial fishing in marine areas other than no-take sanctuary zones and regulating recreational fishing appropriately to avoid threatening the sustainability of fish stocks in estuaries and marine environments.
2. Would the Greens ensure the overdue NSW Marine Park review takes place?
The Liberal/National Government has used the facade of reviews of marine parks to reduce sanctuary zones – areas which are essential for fish to breed and recover and for fish stocks to replenish. We don’t trust the government to not use a review to wind back sanctuary zones even further, at a time when the best available marine science says we should be protecting more areas from fishing if we are to ensure healthy fish stocks well into the future.
2. Would the Greens ensure growth in NSW rec fishing? For example, increased funding for fish stocking, better access to fishing, boat ramps etc.
Recreational fishing is already well supported in NSW, with people being able to fish almost anywhere. What’s needed is more sanctuary zones so that the kids of today are still able to throw a line in with their grandkids in fifty years time and actually catch a fish.
3. How would you ensure popular recreational fish species such as mulloway, snapper or kingfish aren’t exploited by commercial interests?
Both commercial and recreational fishing are exploiting stocks of yellow-tailed kingfish, while mulloway stocks are seriously overfished according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Sustainable Seafood Guide.
We support increasing the amount of no-take zones to protect these species to allow stocks to recover as well as protecting their habitat. The Greens also want to phase out destructive fishing methods such as trawling and longlining in state waters.
Limiting unsustainable forms of fishing and increasing the amount of sanctuary zones will allow fish stocks to increase.
4. Would you support the option of a stand-alone recreational fishing department, separate from competing interests inside Primary Industries? i.e commercial fishing.
The Greens do not support the creation of a stand-alone recreational fishing department. We support the establishment of an independent statutory body to ensure best practice and transparency in all decision making regarding marine resources including ecosystems, habitat types and species.
NSW One Nation – Fishing Policy
NSW One Nation acknowledges the importance of recreational fishing to the NSW Economy and supports the rights of its residents to ‘wet a line’ in their past time. NSW has more than 1 million recreational fishers who embrace the great outdoors and contribute over $3 billion dollars to the state economy.
One Nation recognises that recreational fishing has many health benefits which not only include the physical advantages of being active, but also, the mental health benefits gained by undertaking an activity that brings people together and immense enjoyment to many.
We recognise and encourage recreational fishing as it is a pastime that is available to all regardless of gender, race, age, physical ability and financial status.
Access to fishing grounds, both coastal and inland waterways, must be available to the residents of this state and One Nation rejects the exclusion of recreational anglers from the ever-expanding marine parks.
One Nation supports greater investment to bring this state back to being the premier destination for recreational fishing. This would include better boat ramps, jetties, fishing platforms, and parking facilities in and around popular fishing locations. NSW could be a destination of choice for interstate and overseas visitor through advertising campaigns directed towards the fishing community.
One Nation believes that a legislative review is required in relation to the laws and regulations that unnecessarily restrict and hinder this vibrant recreational activity. Currently the rules are too complicated and must be simplified so that they can be easily understood and accepted by casual fishers.
Increase the opportunity for fishing by opening additional public lands such as Crown Reserves, National Parks, and Marine Parks to the recreational fishing community.
Enhance the natural fish habitat by investing in and maintaining fish populations by restocking waterways with native species whilst providing incentives to eradicate the devasting introduced species of fish such as European Carp and Mosquito Fish.
One Nation will not allow the continued destruction of an industry and hobby. We will stand up and fight for the long held past time that is recreational fishing.
Our 14-point plan involves:
1. Transparency of fishing licence and boat registration fees to ensure the government contribution to the management of recreational fishing is restored to the agreed levels of 2001.
2. Restocking of inland waterway with local native fish species.
3. Targeting the removal of destructive introduced fish species.
4. Opening of Marine Parks to sustainable recreational fishing and not further limiting fishing grounds.
5. Review of all legislation relating to the recreational fishing industry to remove unnecessary and complicated restrictions.
6. Opening public lands, in particular national parks, to increase access to fishing locations.
7. Investing in research, development, and expansion of the industry at a level complimentary to the size and importance fishing provides to this state.
8. Capitalize on the fishing tourism opportunities by developing a targeted advertising program both interstate and internationally.
9. Partner with Local Councils to improve and expand facilities for recreational fishing such as boat ramps, jetties, parking, and cleaning facilities.
10. Calling on the NSW Office of Sport to officially recognise recreational fishing as a sport so as to enable greater government partnership and investment.
11. Including the social and health benefits of fishing when calculating the value of the industry to this state.
12. Opposing the radical agenda pursued by the Animal Justice Party to bring crustaceans and fish under the coverage of animal welfare laws.
13. Support a sustainable commercial fishing sector, recognising both its economic worth to the States economy but also its crucial role in supplying fresh local caught seafood.
14. To underpin the commercial fishing industry we fully support and endorse ‘country of origin’ and ‘naming of seafood’ legislation to provide consumers with that important information.