Report highlights scale of offshore fishing

A report released this week by Recfish Australia has highlighted the importance rec fishos place on continued access to Commonwealth waters.

The report, funded by the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts as part of its Marine Bioregional Planning Process, not surprisingly, finds that rec fishos rely on access to Commonwealth Waters for targeting gamefish such as tuna and marlin. The report also revealed bluewater fishing isn’t restricted to large game boats or charter vessels, with 47 per cent of fishing trips occurring further than 3 nautical miles from shore – in Commonwealth waters.

The report also highlights the economic benefits of offshore fishing, which provides millions of dollars for coastal communities.

Of note is that the report says recreational fishers are supportive of marine parks but largely favour multi-use marine reserves over rec fishing bans.

Chairman of Recfish Australia, Russell Comway says the report provides valuable input into planning for marine protected areas in Commonwealth Waters, “DEWHA have asked us to provide the best available information on trends in recreational fishing and what areas are important to recreational fishers.

Our report demonstrates that ongoing access to Commonwealth Waters is vital for Australian recreational fishing families and we trust that they will take our information into account when developing plans for new marine parks.”

Conway added that while the report provided a lot of information, there was still a need for the government to consult widely with recreational fishers to ensure that their knowledge and experiences were taken into account.

“This report is a starting point; there is still a long way to go to ensure a positive outcome for the environment as well as the recreational fishing community. The majority of recreational fishers and all industry leaders are committed to a sustainable recreational fishery but getting the mix between sustainable resource use and conservation wrong can be disastrous for local communities and regional economies,” he said.

Recfish Australia has called on the major political parties to commit to a federal management plan to develop and improve access to recreational fishing locations and infrastructure.

The complete report can be downloaded from the Recfish Australia website at:

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