State set to tighten fishing laws

SOUTH Australia’s Government has pledged to fast-track changes to the state’s fishing regulations by introducing a possession limit in keeping with other states.

The introduction of possession limits would restrict the number of fish people can have in storage, such as freezers. Ceduna’s mayor Allan Suter said efforts are needed to stop recreational anglers taking commercial quantities of fish.

SA Fisheries Minister Michael O’Brien also says it’s time for tougher limits.

“The time has well and truly arrived. I think what is happening is that serious recreational fishermen are having their fishing holidays in South Australia because of the possession limits in Victoria and  New South Wales and that means I think that there’s a sense of urgency associated with this,” he told the ABC.

“All that we’ve got to do is draw up the regulation and I intend to get on with that because … I think we’re the only state in Australia that doesn’t have a possession limit.”

Trevor Watts from the Recreational Fishing Advisory Council says the fact that some people only have a fishing holiday once a year means conflict will be inevitable.

“It’s all about the number – what is a satisfactory number of fish to have in your possession?” Watts told the ABC.

“That includes all the tourism operators over on the west coast and everywhere else.

“Finding that number that everybody is going to be happy with is going to be so hard and it is going to be so divisive that it’s going to create lots of problems.”

Shane Mensforth, the editor of SA Angler, doesn’t believe the new restrictions are warranted.

“I don’t think possession limits are needed,” Mensforth told Fisho.

“They are being considered mainly to counteract the ‘caravan park’ fishos, ie those who visit SA country ports with caravan, tinny and freezer in tow. They catch a boat limit every day for a fortnight, then take the lot home.”

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