Report: Fishery comeback after netting ban

FOLLOWING the introduction of the NSW recreational fishing licence in 2001, part of the revenue raised was used to fund the buyout of commercial fishing licences at locations such as Tuross Lake on the South Coast.

The results of a study into recreational fishing effort at Tuross since the removal of commercial nets makes for very interesting reading.  

The NSW Department of Primary Industries study, conducted prior to Tuross Lake being proclaimed a recreational fishing haven around a decade ago, and post RFH introduction, revealed that while angler effort increased (surprise, surprise…) so too did catch rates of popular species such as dusky flathead, bream and whiting. 

The lengthy and detailed report – which can be downloaded below – reveals that from a rec fishing point of view the banning of nets improved fishing opportunities for anglers at Tuross Lake.

Interestingly, the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA) has discredited the findings of the report. The commercial fishing representative body’s latest newsletter states that, “following the removal of commercial fishing, recreational fishing effort increased by 25%, probably due to the attractiveness to recreational anglers of a recreational fishing haven. It can therefore be inferred then that recreational fishing catch rates actually decreased following the removal of commercial fishing.”

While Fisho hasn’t read the report at length, inferring that a drop in recreational catch rates for species such as mullet and flounder – which aren’t commonly targeted by anglers – isn’t, in our opinion, an indication of a decline in catch rate … especially when catches of more commonly target species have risen markedly.

What do you think?    

The full report can be found HERE .

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