AFTA advises members never to complete loaded surveys that simply give the Government the answer they are looking for; it is akin to putting your head on the chopping block with the only option being Guillotine or the Broad-Axe!!

The Hon Bob Baldwin

AFTA Independant Chair

AFTA Chairs Report August 2022


After a two-year absence, the industry gathered with great pride and excitement at the AFTA Trade Show 2022.

I enjoyed working the floor, meeting with exhibitors and retailers over the 3 days and I have to say the mood was very positive and vibrant.   I observed that there was very little spare time between engagements for most, and towards the end of the show, everyone was talking up Trade Show 2023.

The only downside was notable absences, both exhibitors and buyers, due to acquiring COVID.   I wish them all a speedy recovery.

Congratulations to all who invested the time and money to be a part of the AFTA Trade Show and Dinner, and a big thank you to Nicholle, Heatha and Steve for all their hard work making it happen on the day.

Board Report

The AGM saw a change in Directors, with one new Wholesale Director, Greg Seeto (DAIWA) and two new Retail Directors, Jarrod Day (Compleat Angler) & Cameron Jackson (BCF), joining the Board. Congratulations.

I thank Mitch Birt, Pure Fishing, for his commitment to AFTA and the many tasks he took leadership on as a Director.  Mitch helped make a big difference; thank you.

AFTA Board 2022

Michael Starkey – President  |  Billy Parsons – Vice President  |  Ben Scales – Treasurer & Secretary  | Kord Luckus  |  Greg Seeto  |  Stephen Morgan  |  Alicia Bolitho  |  Jarrod Day  |  Cameron Jackson

We have a big year ahead with a lot of challenges; the personal input and advice at all levels will be invaluable.

Public Day at the Trade Show

We thank Minister Furner for attending the Trade Show and opening the Public Day; we hope he took away the importance of this issue to our industry.

Dealing with Spanish Mackerel

The QLD DAF consultation Round 2 survey on Spanish Mackerel received around 700 submissions, about 90% recreational. This is way down from the 1748 survey responses in Round 1.     The Government is about to release its decision.

AFTA purposely advised members not to complete the survey as it was loaded with agreeing to either Option 1 or Option 2 with ridiculous closure options just to complete the survey. This was akin to putting your head on the chopping block with the only option being Guillotine or the Broad-Axe !!

AFTA Queensland Director Kord Luckus, President Michael Starkey and I addressed the issue with Minister Furner and departmental officials at the AFTA Show and will continue to follow through to the end as this is a critical issue for our industry.

AFTA, supported by the BIA & GFAA, want a sustainable Spanish Mackerel Fishery. Still, the options being pushed by QLD DAF are skewed towards an outcome that we as an industry cannot accept.

The AFTA proposed management plan is:

Bag Limits

AFTA: 2 per person, 3 fish boat Limit

This provides 3 people in a boat the opportunity to each catch a fish.  It is fair and equitable given the increasing costs of living and rapidly rising fuel prices. This plan provides a sustainable approach to food sourcing and environmental benefit through less fuel burn emissions.

Seasonal Closures

AFTA’s Option:

Southern Section:

1 June – 21 June (21-day closure) and 8 July to 28 July (21-day closure).

A total of 6 weeks closure.

Northern Section:

1 October – 21 October (21-day closure) and 8 November – 28 November (21-day closure).

A total closure of 6 weeks.

AFTA cannot support a 12-week closure!

Suppose the Government can work towards the AFTA proposal. In that case, we can strongly support a sustainable outcome that benefits the actual triple bottom line. If not, then on behalf of our members, we will commence a targeted campaign on change and sustainability.

WA Demersal Cutback Issue

Well, a decision has now been made, and Minister Don Punch and his Department are going through the process of inviting Western Australia’s recreational fishers to comment on proposed management options by visiting:

The proposed primary management measures for the recreational sector are to restrict fishing to a very narrow limited season by banning fishing for dhufish and pink snapper for up to nine months. This amounts to a complete failure of fisheries policy!

By the Government’s admission, our industry generates $2.4b per year from its base of 40,000 rec fishers, and the economic impact across all aspects of the industry has not been considered.

The survey is loaded with 28 questions designed to give the answer the Government want, not allowing for any individual opinion. So much for the consultation process!!

You cannot complete the survey unless you either agree to vote for either:

Proposal 1 maximising fishing amenity – A 94-day recreational fishing season for demersal scale fish in the West Coast Bioregion, opening from 15 December to 15 January (inclusive) and from 20 March to 20 May (inclusive). 


Proposal 2 maximising additional spawning protection benefits – A 123-day recreational fishing season for demersal scale fish, opening from 1 April to 31 May and from 15 August to 15 October.

And the next question is ….

Do you support the recreational fishery transitioning to an individual days fishing model in the medium term, where each recreational fisher would be allocated two fishing days each year to fish for demersal scale fish in the West Coast Bioregion?

This is not genuine consultation but simply going through the process by putting out a survey to get the answer that supports a decision the Government have already made. Again this Survey approach is akin to putting your head on the chopping block, with the only option being Guillotine or the Broad Axe !! 

Before you provide any feedback, please take the time to read the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource Consultation Paper: Recreational (including Charter) Sector Proposed Management Package.

AFTA Chair, Bob Baldwin, Brian Marshall, Tim Farnell, Ash Ramm & Julie Ramm at Tackle World Miami for a planning Session

AFTA Chair, Bob Baldwin, Brian Marshall, Tim Farnell, Ash Ramm & Julie Ramm at Tackle World Miami for a planning Session[/caption]AFTA suggest if you are not happy taking the loaded survey, email your thoughts in a submission directly to: and to your local Member of Parliament.

AFTA will continue to support AFTA members Tim Farnell – Red Mullet Distributors & West Australian Family Fishing Alliance (WARFFA), Brian Marshall – Compleat Angler Nedlands and Ash Ramm – Tackle World Miami as we fight this issue on behalf of all recreational fishos in WA. However, we need individuals to take up the AFTA Action Agenda and contact their local members.

Time is running out; submissions close at AWST 5pm, Friday 16 September 2022.

Victorian Elections in Nov 2022

AFTA has been engaging with both the Government and Opposition in promoting a positive fishing agenda for the next term of Government and beyond, with the election only a couple of months.

It was refreshing to see Opposition Spokesperson on Fishing, Bill Tilley MP, travel to the Trade Show to engage with the industry and whilst newly appointed Minister, Sonya Kilkenny was not able to attend the Show, she has put forward a range of dates to meet with the Board in Melbourne.

A silly issue came up simultaneously with the Trade Show with Environment Minster Lily D’Ambrosio planning to ban kids and families’ recreational fishing in metropolitan lakes and rivers. DELWP released a consultation on proposed Crown Land (Reserves) (Metropolitan and Regional Parks) Regulations. These regulations provided for bans on recreational fishing on specified metropolitan and regional parklands such as Albert Park, Karkarook Park, Werribee River, Lower Yarra River, Maribyrnong River, and Patterson River, amongst others. Click here to read more.

Minister Sonya Kilkenny, new Minister for Fishing & Boating

AFTA thanks Minister Kilkenny for rapidly stepping in and shutting down this nonsense. Whilst one side of the Government is pushing to grow the industry towards 1 million recreational fishers, the other side of the same Government wants to shut people out. Just crazy stuff. Click here to read the reply.

There is no denying that Victoria has led the way in fisheries management in Australia, particularly Recreational Fishing management, driven by Travis Dowling, Director of VFA.    This is a benchmark policy that other states should adopt and implement.

Target One Million and the Women In Recreational Fishing program have been an outstanding success for the Government and, importantly, our industry.

AFTA has met with the Opposition, VFA and had dialogue with the State Government on what we are seeking from whoever is in power come to the election result. Please see AFTA online news for policy considerations being submitted and don’t hesitate to offer proposals.

NSW Elections in March 2023

AFTA has had an initial meeting with Minister Dugald Saunders; a further meeting will be held in late September. AFTA has also met with Opposition Spokesperson Mick Veitch and will meet again in late September to offer policy suggestions for the next election.

AFTA want to see policy changes on Marine Parks and access, and the introduction of the successful Women in Recreational Fishing program in NSW, which has been an outstanding success in Victoria and now Queensland.

Better distribution and a greater return to Recreational fishers, both salt and fresh, of the licence fees collected from recreational fishers would be a way to start. Concerns are often raised about Recreational Fishing license fees being spent on the normal operations of the Government by the Department instead of direct benefit to fishers. This practice has continued under both political parties since its inception and is just not palatable. More of the recreational fishing funds should be spent on fish habitats, both inland waterways and offshore artificial reefs, than on fisheries officers and the typical research programs of the Government.

Recreational fishers are generally lucky that NSW has had a good policy mix over the past term. AFTA has appreciated the DPI Fisheries Director’s monthly engagement with the peak bodies.

Tight Lines & Full Tills