The importance of the AFTA Trade Show is not just one of seeing the new products on display, but the opportunity to network with peers from across the nation to discuss trends, ideas and opportunities.

The Hon Bob Baldwin

AFTA Independant Chair

AFTA Chairs Report February 2021

It is somewhat difficult to comprehend at times that Christmas was over 2 months ago and that the COVID-19 pandemic started to impact Australia 12 months ago.

2020 was the year of trials and tribulation, tears and cheers as we saw what amounted to a shutdown of our industry at the beginning, longer than most for Victorians,  growing to unprecedented sales as the year ended where people spent money that had been intended for interstate and overseas travel, spent domestically, particular in their own area.  Our industry was a beneficiary.

“Members should reflect that it was AFTA that drove the approval agenda across the nation for Recreational Fishing to be approved as both a means of exercise and a means of obtaining food under the schedules, prior to AFTA’s engagement with Government Ministers it was a banned activity.”

Both Retailers and Wholesalers are now talking of record sales figures and shortage of supply as most countries continue to suffer with high level spreads of the disease and increased domestic demand.

Feedback from all our member sectors is that the government’s JobKeeper package made the difference between surviving and shutting down for some.  Now the JobKeeper package is coming to an end, it is time to be proactive in securing our customer’s interests and build on their new experiences. 

We must become “Order Makers, not Order Takers” when dealing with clients who seek new experiences.

Hopefully, within 6 months most Australians will have been vaccinated and the risk of spread of infections reduced and that domestic travel will no longer incur the 14 day isolation condition. 

As an industry, we must seize the moment and rise like the phoenix from the COVID ashes to reassert our position in the domestic spend marketplace. There is an old saying in sales, “it is more expensive to attract new customers than to keep them“.

Western Australian Election

The Western Australian election is to be held on the 13th March. 

The Liberal Party released a policy document ( and whilst we have written to the Hon Peter Tinley, Minister for Fisheries a couple of times, we are still waiting for their policy release to publish for the benefit of our members.

AFTA congratulate the Recfishwest team, headed by CEO, Andrew Rowland for the outstanding job in pushing the interests of recreational fishing with the WA Government over the term of this government.

“Let’s Fish” Social Media Campaign

The “Let’s Fish” social media campaigns for South Australia and Queensland are developing well despite travel restrictions for filming segments.   We thank the SA & Qld governments for their financial support to enable this to happen.

AFTA intend to put these campaigns out ASAP and whilst we will have a modest budget to promote the program, we will encourage all members to help grow out “Shares, Views & Likes” on social media as much as possible.  At the end of the day, the nett beneficiary of “Let’s Fish” will be you, the recreational fishing industry retailers & wholesalers.

AFTA has submitted a grant application to the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust for a “Let’s Fish”  NSW media campaign, we await a decision.

“Let’s Go Fishing – School Program”

AFTA has now concluded 3 phases of the “Let’s Go Fishing – Educating School Children on the Sustainable Benefits of Recreational Fishing” partnership with the NSW Marine Teachers Association (MTA) funded jointly by the NSW DPI Recreational Fishing Trust and AFTA Members. 

Since 2018 the program has successfully engaged with over 1000 NSW students (58% male, 42% female & 8% ATSI).   Due to its success, AFTA/MTA has been approached by an additional 24 NSW schools to be included in the program in the next phase.

Growing the participation in recreational fishing has many benefits, importantly the “Let’s Go Fishing” program addresses the triple bottom line, the social, the economic and the environmental impacts through education.

AFTA is now engaging with Schools Sports Victoria to become a part of the program and explore opportunities for Victorian school children to experience fishing as a school sport.

Resource Sharing

It is disappointing that at times, Governments of all levels and persuasions lack the determination to consult with those directly affected by their decisions, particularly when the sustainability and economic impact of those decisions directly impacts recreational fishers.

AFTA fully supports genuine resource sharing, but that resource sharing cannot be on a “first in best dressed” basis as we see occur in Qld with Black Jewfish for example.

That is why AFTA supports AFANT’s call on the Northern Territory Government to take immediate action to halt the commercial crabbing in Shoal Bay, as the recreational sectors’ worst fears with resource sharing in the mud crab fishery are being realised.

AFTA Trade Show

The importance of the AFTA Trade Show is not just one of seeing the new products on display, but the opportunity to network with peers from across the nation to discuss trends, ideas and opportunities.

AFTA has submitted an application to be included on the Schedule of Approved Events on  Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) website.  Our application has been submitted and we await approval.

If AFTA is approved, it means that those attending may be eligible for expenditure rebates, subject to the terms and conditions.  AFTA will immediately notify members once our status is known.

Gone Fishing Day

The ARFF has announced that Gone Fishing 2021 will be held on the 10th October.  AFTA encourage all members to get on board and help build our industry by reaching and engaging new anglers in particular.