Rec fishing access in NT key issue at AFANT AGM

FINALISING negotiations for rec fishing access to waters covered by the Blue Mud Bay decision and consideration of possible new size and possession limits will be key issues at the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the Northern Territory’s (AFANT) 2011 Annual General Meeting – to be held this Sunday March 13.

“Negotiations between the NT Government, the Northern Land Council and the Anandilyakwa Land Council should now be nearing a final settlement and we have asked Fisheries Minister Kon Vatskalis to update members on progress at our AGM,” said AFANT President Warren de With.

“Chief Minister Paul Henderson has reaffirmed his commitment to permit and payment- free access but we saw the Tiwi Land Council pull out of the negotiations during 2010 and introduce a paid fishing permit system.”

“With funding support from the NT Government, AFANT is able to refund fishers the cost of the permits but the prospect of any similar process for the rest of the Territory would make it extremely difficult for recreational fishers so it is critical that these negotiations are brought to a satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible.”

“A system for boat identification was raised by the Land Councils as a significant issue for them in settling the Blue Mud Bay negotiations and, while AFANT has asked the NT Government to attempt to resolve the access issue without the need for boat ID, we have indicated that we will assist in its implementation under certain conditions if it becomes a necessary component of the settlement.”

“The process we kicked off in 2010 to have a look at recreational possession limits and other regulations will also be discussed at the meeting. We have now released a second discussion paper based on some terrific input from many recreational fishers and, while we are currently waiting for data from the NT Recreational Fishing Survey before we move on with the process, the AGM will be an opportunity for fishers to ask questions or provide further feedback.”

“The environmental assessment process for the Inpex Ichthys gas processing facility in Darwin Harbour is nearing its conclusion and Inpex Darwin General Manager Sean Kildare will provide a briefing to members at the AGM on progress with the project.”
from AFANT, the NT Government and in this case Inpex,” Mr de With said.

The AFANT AGM will be held at 10:00 am on Sunday 13 March at Tracy Village Social and Sports Club, Tambling Terrace, Lyons.

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