LAST weekend’s Sunfish Queensland AGM was attended by 21 delegates from across the state representing the 10 statewide organisations affiliated with Sunfish and other recreational fishing groups.
At the meeting the delegates were unanimous in their disappointment at the announced changes to the allocation of the RUF (Recreational Use Fee).
David Bateman AM, the newly elected Chairman of Sunfish – the State’s peak body organisation for recreational fishing with 45,000 direct members – said, “the interests of 750,000 recreation anglers in this State has taken a serious backward step”.
The Government’s removal of funding for Sunfish could now see the organisation’s voluntary capacity to represent anglers reduced, unless private funding is found. The delegates were reportedly astounded that the Government’s first actions were to cut recreational fishing community projects that have stood the test of all sides of Government for 18 years.
Bateman added, “Funds from these programs that have been financed by the State’s boating anglers through the RUF (formerly known as the private pleasure vessel (PPV) levy) are now being reallocated to create a $2m “windfall” to employ fisheries staff and support core business.
“From the latest advice received it would appear that Sunfish now has to deal with at least five Government agencies to try to access funding and conduct any semblance of our past activities. Our only dealings with Fisheries Queensland will be in connection with management of the various fisheries.
“We will however be asking how the Government plans to honor statements in its ‘Marine Resources’ policy relating to recreational fishing opportunities.
In conclusion, Bateman said, “that Sunfish will continue with the support of its volunteers to build on the excellent work of the past which has benefitted recreational fishing. Among other actions we will be proposing that the Premier create a separate Ministry, the same as in other States, to properly manage all fisheries in Queensland. “
More information on Sunfish at: www.sunfishqld.com.au