as a business association, AFTA’s role is to advocate for our members business interests first rather than focusing solely on fishing

The Hon Bob Baldwin

Chair, Australian Fishing Trade Association

AFTA Chairs Report for the AGM 2021

The past 12 months have not been without challenges for our industry, yet despite the ongoing issues with lock-downs, the various state government border restrictions and stock supply issues it would appear our industry is enjoying some sales growth. At the same time, it is hard not to feel for our Victorian members who no sooner open the doors for business, only to have to shut down, again and again with the state-imposed lockdowns.  Their stoicism is to be admired.

I firmly believe that AFTA members need to make the most of the current international travel restrictions as the disposable income is being spent on items such as fishing equipment, boats and domestic travel and that is to our advantage.

AFTA Board

During the past 12 months AFTA held 5 formal “virtual meetings” and as previously advised AFTA held its first “face to face” Board meeting on the 28 April at the Gold Coast.  All 6 meetings were well attended by Directors.

I have personally appreciated the access and support from all Directors not only at Board Meetings but other informal sessions as we have worked through the challenges of developing positive industry agendas going forward.

The minutes of all Board meetings are available to members on the Members Resources page of the AFTA website. 

AFTA Trade Show 2021

The Trade Show Committee has done an amazing job in bringing together the 2021 Show.    The challenges and outcomes in garnering support from not only exhibitors but attendees have been world class. Working under the risk of COVID restrictions on exhibitors & attendees has seen many a sleepless night for our team.  Well Done!

The AFTA Trade Show 2021 was successful in being granted “Approved Event” status under the federal “Business Events Grants” program and many of our members were able to qualify for funding to help offset expenses.


It has been a positive year on the political side with a lot of work still in progress.

I congratulate Nick Duigan, one of the hosts of the long running TV show, “Hook Line & Sinker” for being elected as the Member for Windermere.  I believe Nick to be the first fishing media identity elected to any Parliament in Australia.   It will be great to have a person with the depth of understanding of our industry as an advocate.

Throughout the year AFTA have held meetings with:

Qld Minister for Fisheries, The Hon Mark Furner on the “black jewfish”, “fillet lengths” issues and the “no target” rule.  In addition, AFTA secured funding for the “Indigenous Youth Mentoring Pathway Fishing Program” and “Lets Fish Qld” program which Minister Furner will launch at the AFTA Show Public Day.

Virtual meetings with SA Premier, Steven Marshall and Fisheries Minister David Basham to secure the “Lets Fish SA” grant and “Snapper” access issues.

We worked successfully with Victorian Minister for Recreational Fishing, Mellissa Horne on legislation for “Access to crown land leases” & removal of “commercial netting in Gippsland” which is of direct benefit to recreational fishers.

In NSW we have been working with the NSW government on the “Harvest Strategy” and pushing for the release of the findings of the Great Lakes/Port Stephens Marine Park review.

Future Election Time-Tables:

The South Australia election is on 19 March 2022 and possibly a federal election in the next 12 momnths.  I ask that members provide any details on issues affecting recreational fishers ASAP so that AFTA can advocate on your behalf.

Policy Development

AFTA’s policy making framework revolves  around two broad policy questions.  Does it protect fishing’s future?  and does it encourage fishing participation?

As an industry association, AFTA’s focus is on the sustainability of our members in business.  AFTA will always advocate for the triple bottom line, “Social, Economic and Environmental” sustainability.

Remember as a business association AFTA’s role is to advocate for our members business interests first rather than focusing solely about fishing.

Finally, I wish each and every one of you all the best for the next 12 months and beyond as we come out of this dreadful pandemic.