Have you ever wondered what the real motivation for people is to go recreational fishing????

The Hon Bob Baldwin

AFTA Independant Chair

AFTA Chairs Report December 2021

‘Tis the season to be jolly and from all reports, recreational fishing businesses are not only on the road to recovery but booming. This is truly a reason to be jolly.

This sentiment is supported by the Recreational Fishing Industry ABS Import Data (see links to data sets on the AFTA website and through the freely available ABS Retail Sales Data

The Retail Sales data in our sector broadly show that “Other Retailing” rose 2.2% in October from September 2021, in seasonally adjusted terms and at the same time the “Imports Data” show a substantial recovery in every month of 2021 over 2020 and solid growth over the 2019 calendar year period.

Now that we are rapidly approaching the end of the “Lock-Downs” & “Border Closures”, recreational domestic interstate fishing tourism will add to those sales figures. 

From all reports, there is pent-up demand for interstate travel and whilst international travel has a long way to go to be freely approached, we as an industry need to “Carpe Diem” (seize the day).  As an industry, we need to make sure we are prepared and plan for the sudden ingress and all the economic benefits that flow with increased consumer demand.

Have you ever wondered what the real motivation for people is to go recreational fishing?

In the NSW DPI rec fishing industry update meeting this week with Director Sean Sloane, the discussion turned to why people actually go fishing.  The answers in a NSW survey report may surprise you but are critical to understanding our market on how to achieve maximum industry participation going forward.

Table 18 in the report highlights that “relaxing”, “being outdoors” and “spending time with family” actually outranks “catching fish”.    This is the very basis of the AFTA “Let’s Fish” media campaign (https://afta.net.au/lets-fish-australia/) to re-engage or attract newcomers into fishing.

The “Let’s Fish” campaign has begun the roll-out in Qld & SA and is currently under development for NSW.  All of this was made possible by the participating states providing grant funding.

A copy of the Full Report is available on the DPI website,the relevant information is on pages 80 and 81.


NSW Recreational Fishing Trust Annual Report

More than 2900 large and small projects have received funding from the Trusts since 2001, with over 2700 projects completed.   In 2020-21, funding of $16.8 million was provided to support projects currently underway (including ongoing programs) and NSW sold over 470,000 licenses. Click here to read

Is your business hiring in the New Year?

With the positive trends in sales, are you looking at employing staff to help during the busy summer season? If so, you should consider using the business.gov.au free Employment Contract Tool to build an employment contract in just 10 minutes that’s tailored to your business needs and complies with workplace laws.

The new super fund requirements came in on Nov 1 where the onus is now on employers to ensure they find the employees superfund.  See link here for further info.


The reforms to the Spanish Mackerel Fishery in Qld have hit an interesting point with a meeting put together this week by Dallas D’Silva Executive Director, Fisheries Qld to discuss the justification in the modelling and methodology of the stock assessment.

From the outset, AFTA, led by Qld Director Kord Luckus have continually questioned the modelling of the sustainable stock & capture rate by Qld Fisheries.

AFTA’s concerns are that QLD Fisheries claim the current stock assessment is at 17% and that below the 20% benchmark urgent action needs to be taken to address the decline.

The total allowable catch (TAC) at present is 578t with the commercials capture rate of 200-300t at present.  It was defined that the Commercial sector makes up 60% of the capture rate and Recfishers 40%.

With the urgent action required, Fisheries Qld is considering 2 models:

(1)          A 50-70% catch (150t) and 8 – 12 week closure around spawning season

(2)          A 70-90% catch (100t) and 12-week closure around spawning season

Both with a possession limit of 1 fish per Angler and 2 fish per Boat maximum.

Under these proposals, the commercial sector would also be reduced to 60t in a 70-90% scenario and 90t in a 50-70% scenario and the season closures apply to all sectors.

AFTA registered its objection to this proposal in particular to the boat limit and the extended time period of the closures.   The spawning period is approx. 4 weeks, a 12 week closure is absurd by any measure.

The only positives are that the commercial sector will equally share the reduction and closures and that it will not be a first past the post situation as occurs in the Black Jewfish fishery.

The Spanish Mackerel Fishery Working Group will present its formal management options in February 2022 with a discussion paper process to follow.

AFTA Members need to be concerned, please stay in touch for updates and an FTA action plan.*


South Australia

With the SA election due on 19 March 2022, AFTA has proactively reached out to the Minister, Shadow Minister, Political Parties and Independents to further discussions on SA Recfishing policy platforms for the election.  AFTA  had concerns about the handling of the Snapper Fishery which were raised with PIRSA and the Minister during this term.

It is now time critical for members input into future policy to be presented to all SA politicians as time is slipping away and we need politicians to commit to policy PRIOR to an election.  Please send all policy ideas and concerns to admin@afta.net.au

Finally, after a challenging year, on behalf of AFTA, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Tight Lines