RFA lodges objection to commercial octopus fishing consultation process

Gloomy octopus are a target species listed on the consultation paper. Image:

THE Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) of NSW is calling for the suspension of a consultation process into commercial octopus fishing until more information is provided to the recreational fishing community.

The RFA says there is very little, if any information as part of the consultation process that could possibly allow recreational fishers and spearfishers to make an informed response to a new proposed commercial octopus fishery in NSW.

The consultation paper can be viewed at this link.

The RFA has reported that no information has been sent to the recreational fishing community via social media or via the DPI email list. The RFA has also questioned if this process has met the Department’s own Resource Sharing Policy and how the Minister’s own NSW Recreational Fishing Advisory Council will be able to advise him if this Council has not even been formed or met yet.

The RFA has stated that the consultation document fails to provide the following;
• Full details of the proposed allocation outcome, target species and fishing methods including areas and timing of operation.
• Resource assessment information for targeted stock, proposed level of exploitation.
• Information on the existing access arrangements including relative catch of each relevant fishing sector and appropriate social and economic data where available (e.g. value of catch, expenditure by participants, flow on impacts, willingness to pay).
• Evidence that the proponent has consulted with key stakeholders and submitted their views on the proposed allocation outcome.
• Local research and information on the stock structure and fisheries biology of the targeted octopus species in NSW.
• Ecological consequences of any given reduction in octopus biomass for the proposed fishing grounds.

The RFA says the current commercial octopus fishing consultation process can be likened to the transitioning of the NSW Southern Fish Trawl Restricted Fishery to Commonwealth Management, where no information was provided to the recreational community until the deal was done.

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