DUE to uncertainty surrounding closed access areas on the Tiwi Islands and the impact on recreational angling, the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT (AFANT) has suspended the issuing of camping and fishing permits, with refunds effective immediately.
“AFANT apologises to affected anglers but the lack of clarity and information and the disadvantage to anglers has left AFANT with no alternative but to cease involvement in the Tiwi refunds and permits” said AFANT President Warren de With.
“AFANT has sent correspondence to both the NT government and the Tiwi Land Council expressing concern with the closures.”
“We have called on both the Tiwi Land Council and the Northern Territory government to provide precise locations and boundaries including GPS coordinates and maps of the proposed closures on the Tiwi Islands.”
“AFANT is extremely concerned with the lock out of recreational anglers and the real ambiguity with the intertidal zone boundaries, we believe these areas must be clearly defined before any closures can take effect or be enforced.”
“These arrangements create an extremely negative precedent which has the potential to have flow-on effects to other areas of the Territory and the government’s difficult Blue Mud Bay negotiations with all areas across the NT.”
“AFANT believes that it is essential that any proposed closures that are a direct result of the Blue Mud Bay decision are clearly and adequately defined so that recreational anglers know the precise locations of the closed areas and ensure they can comply with the wishes of the traditional owners.”
“AFANT has in the past had a close working relationship with the Tiwi Land Council on a range of issues; including our organisation providing a service for the Tiwi Islanders on issuing the camping permits, as well as working with the NT government and the land council on reimbursing the cost of the fishing permits.”
“As a result of the decision by the Tiwi Land Council, our organisation has made the decision effective immediately, that it is not in our interest to continue reimbursing the fishing permit funds on behalf of the NT government or issuing camping permits on behalf of the Tiwi Land Council.”
“This position may be reviewed by AFANT if the situation becomes more favorable for anglers on the Tiwis.”
“AFANT has called on the Northern Territory Government to enter negotiations with the Tiwi Land Council and secure an outcome that provides certainty and a more favorable outcome for recreational anglers.” Mr de With said.