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Rec-only barra zones introduced in NT

THE Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT (AFANT) has welcomed the announcement this week by Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries, Willem Westra Van Holthe, on the gazettal of the rec-only barramundi fishing zones including the Chambers and Finke Bays.

“This is a great day for recreational anglers in the Territory as well as visiting anglers and the tourism industry” said AFANT President Warren de With.”

“AFANT congratulates Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries the Hon. Willem Westra Van Holthe for implementing the commercial closures and the commitment to buy up to six commercial barramundi licenses to remove effort from the fishery.”

“Today sees the finalisation of the process that will create a recreational only barramundi fishery for 400 km of coastline from Fog Bay and the Finniss River to the Kakadu National Park boundary.

AFANT has long campaigned on these commercial fishing closures as we see the opportunity to further enhance the Mary River system and Chambers and Finke Bay into a truly world class Barra fishery.”

The new recreational only zones will also assist in keeping the NT as a world class recreational fishing and lifestyle destination and is full recognition of the importance of recreational angling to the Northern Territory economy and lifestyle.”

Resident recreational anglers in the NT spend an average $1500 per year directly on fishing goods and services, the highest rate in the country. That totals $51 million per year. Add to that the fishing expenditure of visiting fishers and the estimated $22 million spent on guided fishing in the NT and there is direct expenditure of some $100 million per year.

The NT has the highest level of boat ownership in Australia with more than 10,800 recreational fishing boats with a market value of some $193 million.

“Recreational angling tourism is one of the few sectors of the tourism industry that has continued to grow visitor numbers of around 150,000 visitor fishing days each year and has doubled in the last ten years. Visiting anglers and the experience of catching iconic fish like barramundi is a major contributor to the NT tourism industry.”

“The removal of commercial barramundi fishing in Chambers and Finke bays will see 140 tonnes of barramundi and threadfin stay in the water each year giving anglers a much greater opportunity to catch that ‘fish of a life-time’ that this region is renowned for.”

“This announcement is a positive step to further enhance the great territory lifestyle and recreational angling opportunities we have in the Territory.”Mr de With said.

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