“AFTA congratulate Qld Minister Mark Furner on the proposed zone changes that will see the full or partial removal of Gill or Mesh nets in Northern Qld. The direct benefits to recreational anglers, tourism and our members and indirect benefits to businesses that supply and surround recreational fishing and the tackle trade are more than substantial.”

The Hon Bob Baldwin

AFTA Independant Chair

AFTA Chair’s Report June 2023

Around the States:

Queensland Government

AFTA sincerely congratulate Minister Mark Furner MP and the Queensland Government for teaming up with the Commonwealth government to create net-free zones, including areas in the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef and parts of the Gulf of Carpentaria to better protect threatened species that move between the Reef and the Gulf.

Key points are:

  • Buy out and remove all N2 and N4 licences by December 31 2023.
  • Buy out, remove and condition a limited number of N1 licences by December 31 2023.
  • Phase out the remaining limited N1 licences to make the Reef gillnet free by June 30 2027.
  • Establish a “net-free north” from Cape Bedford to the tip of Cape York.
  • Establish additional gillnet-free zones in the Gulf of Carpentaria and other locations of high ecological value.

 Read more detail here.

Western Australia

If anyone hadn’t quite noticed, with the resignation of Mark McGowan, a bi-election for the state coastal seat of Rockingham is set for July 29; nominations close on June 23 at Noon for anyone wishing to run to send a protest on the demersal fishing rules, please see the Nomination Form.

The damaging impacts of the WA Government closures on Demersal Fishery will spread to the Charter Fishing sector from July 1. Under their new quota system, 6,000 tags have been allocated between 21 charter operators in the region based on their catch history over the past five years. To read more, click here.


The AFTA Board met with Minister Tara Moriarty MLC, Minister for Agriculture, on June 16 to discuss the new Government’s policy agenda for recreational fishing in NSW.

The discussions covered the ongoing relationship with the NSW Let’s Go Fishing – Educating School Children on the Sustainable Benefits of Recreational Fishing project and the success of 98 schools running the program through the Marine Teachers Association.

AFTA also asked the Minister to formally launch the NSW Let’s Fish media campaign, which the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust and AFTA jointly fund.

AFTA is encouraged that the Minister is looking to develop a NSW model of the Women in Recreational Fishing program.

We also discussed the topic of Offshore Windfarms and the impact on recreational and commercial fishing due to exclusion zones and environmental impacts on the Whale Highway. 

To be fair, this program is being driven by the Commonwealth Government, but we asked for her support.


Hon. Sonya Kilkenny, Minister for Outdoor Recreation, has started to deliver on the election promise of $1.5m for the free Little Angler Kits. The 60,000 kits will be available to grade five primary students in more than 1,900 Victorian schools later this year.

The kits will set families up with everything they need to wet a line, including a fishing rod and reel, line, tackle box, some tackle and a Kids’ Guide to Fishing that includes information and links to educational resources to learn the basics such as fishing safety, knots and rigs.

As Minister Kilkenny stated:

“We want more young people getting into fishing because we know it brings people together in the great outdoors, boosts local businesses and encourages Victorians to discover new parts of this great state.”

“Offering free Little Angler Kits through schools helps the next generation of fishers reel in a hobby they can enjoy for a lifetime.”   

South Australia

AFTA is concerned over the planned offshore wind farm at Port Macdonnell and its potential impacts across a range of fishery activities, including the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery, predominantly due to exclusion zones.

AFTA is supporting the SA government-recognised peak body RecFish SA in their representations on offshore wind farms the Government.

Recreational fishers in SA have enough issues and restrictions to deal with at present; further restrictions may be the nail in the coffin for many businesses that support the fishing industry.



Now with bated breath, we await the outcomes of the Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery Review. As AFTA has stated, we can support the interim measures on flathead, but implementing the remainder of the proposed species restrictions is an unconscionable action that undermines our industry’s viability.

AFTA is working with Jane Gallichan, CEO TARFish, to support their well-considered submission. 


Tight Lines