“No matter how you view it, the AFTA Trade Show 2023 was a resounding success in every aspect.”

The Hon Bob Baldwin

Independent Chair, AFTA

AFTA Annual Chair’s Report – August 2023


Well, what a show it was!!! No matter how you view it, the AFTA Trade Show 2023 was a resounding success in every aspect.   It covered every base; it had new products, new exhibitors, new sponsors, increased industry attendance, and a Public Day like no other.

The Public Day was an outstanding success due to the $25,000 sponsorship by Queensland Fisheries Minister Mark Furner to enable Public Day to be free access for all. On behalf of AFTA and the public that attended, we Thank You!

Congratulations to all the Trade Show organising team on a job well done and for raising the bar for next year’s event on 15th -17th August 2024.

I would be remiss if I did not congratulate Bill Classon on being awarded Hall of Fame recognition for his long and tireless work for our industry. His commitment has been recognised and is now rewarded.

I was incredibly proud and honoured to present the 2023 AFTA Industry Recognition Award to the Western Australia team, Tim Farnell, Brian Marshall and Ash Ram, for their enormous efforts in tirelessly representing the recreational fishing industry on the WA Demersal Cutbacks issue.

AFTA Board

At the AGM, two Wholesale positions were up for election, and three nominations were received.   I congratulate Ben Scales – Treasurer & Secretary – Jarvis Walker &  Kord Luckus – Wilson Fishing, on being re-elected to their positions, and I appreciate Narada Taranto, Shimano, for nominating. I look forward to including Narada in broader policy discussions going forward.

Alicia Bolitho was re-elected unopposed in the Retailer vacancy; congratulations.

The AFTA Board is:

Michael Starkey – President – Frogleys Offshore

Billy Parsons – Vice President – JM Gillies

Ben Scales – Treasurer & Secretary – Jarvis Walker

Kord Luckus – Wilson Fishing

Greg Seeto – Daiwa

Steve Morgan – Fishing Monthly

Alicia Bolitho – Tackle World

Jarrod Day – Compleat Angler

Cameron Jackson – BCF

AFTA is holding the next Board meeting in Sydney on October 18, 2023.


FRDC National Social & Economic Survey of Recreational Fishers 2018-21 Reports – State by state

In an effort to make the report more relevant to individuals in our industry, the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC) has now broken down the National Social & Economic Survey of Recreational Fishers 2018-21 report into a detailed report on each state:

National Report

NSW & ACT Report

Queensland Report

Victorian Report

South Australian Report

Western Australia Report

Tasmanian Report

Northern Territory Report


AFTA appreciates the work put into making this more relevant to individual stakeholders, State by State.


Offshore Windfarms UPDATE

Hunter Region NSW

The Commonwealth Government, through Energy & Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen, has published the declared final lease area for the Hunter Offshore Wind Farms.   This will have devastating impacts on all fishing, marine life, bird life and whale watch tourism in the Port Stephens area. 

Local AFTA member Brent Hancock, Tackleworld Port Stephens, has been at the forefront of a campaign supported by the Newcastle Port Stephens Game Fishing Club (home of the Billfish Shoot-Out & NSW Interclub Championship) to bring the concerns to government; this campaign is continuing with petitions and public meetings.   

This declaration has been quietly rushed through with very little public consultation. The declared area off the Hunter covers 1,854km2 and extends from offshore of Norah Head in the south to Port Stephens in the north and covers all the major billfish areas. The exclusion areas alone will heavily impact the fishery.

Illawarra Region NSW

The proposed lease area for the Illawarra region has now been published, with the government seeking feedback on the area proposed for future offshore renewable energy projects, particularly offshore wind in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Illawarra region in New South Wales, The proposed area extends from Wombarra in the north to Kiama in the south and is at least 10km from the coast. Submissions opened on August 14 and closed on October 16, 2023.   Given the proximity to the shore, the impacts on recreational fishing will be devastating.

SA Southern Ocean & Victoria

The government is seeking feedback on the area proposed for future offshore renewable energy projects in the Southern Ocean Region. The region extends from Warrnambool in Victoria to Port MacDonnell, South Australia, with submissions closing August 31.


Bass Straight Off Gippsland, Victoria

Energy & Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen declared the area off Gippsland in the Bass Straight comprising three areas on December 19 2022. Invitations for Feasibility Licence applications closed on April 27 2023. We now await the announcement of who and how many wind towers are to be erected within this area.

In Summary

It will be an interesting period ahead with elections in the Northern Territory (August 24, 2024), the ACT (October 19, 2024) and
QLD (October 26, 2024). I ask AFTA members to contribute policy ideas and opinions on the positive and negative actions of the relevant government to allow a truly representative industry proposal to all political parties in each state.

The AFTA directors provided great insight, but more information is needed. AFTA work with the various State Peak Bodies, many of which are AFTA members; however, we need your input as industry members whose livelihood and business development require more action than those who just fish.

So, Tight Lines and Full Tills