“AFTA has secured Queensland Government Sponsorship to allow the Tackle Show Public Day to be a free entry event.”
AFTA Chairs Report May 2023
It has been both an interesting and exciting month across several Ministerial Meetings with AFTA pushing the recreational fishing business agenda across the nation.
First and foremost, AFTA has been vigorously representing our industry’s interests to various governments to ensure that the voice of recreational fishers is heard and critically understood by our political leaders.
This month AFTA has made representations to the Victorian, South Australian, Tasmanian & Queensland governments and a meeting with the NSW government is scheduled for June 6th.
QUEENSLAND – Government
**** BREAKING NEWS******
Building on last year’s AFTA Public Day’s success, AFTA has secured $25,000 in financial support from the Queensland Recreational Fishing Minister. Mark Furner MP to allow the AFTA Tackle Show Public Day to be “Free Entry”.
We are excited as the event will showcase the latest and greatest gear to the public and increase sales not just around the Gold Coast but across the nation due to our marketing campaign.
We are seeking industry support with digital assets promoting the show soon to be available for members to share on their social channels.
VICTORIA – Ministerial Meeting
On May 11th, the AFTA board met with The Hon. Sonya Kilkenny, Victorian Minister for Outdoor Recreation.
With the National Recreational Fishing Survey results showing Victoria having a 16% participation rate and contributing $2.3b to the Victorian GDP, it is vital to meet ministers and discuss both the concerns and the positive ideas from our members
In the past, AFTA assisted the Victorian Government in good policy delivery, such as the Gippsland Lakes Commercial Netting legislation (Minister Jaala Pulford, October 2019) and riverfront access on leasehold property in the Parks & Crown Land Amendment (Minister Melissa Horne, November 2020) by helping to secure the necessary crossbench support for the legislation to pass.
AFTA congratulated the Minister on the election commitment of the 60,000 Little Anglers Kits program. AFTA looks forward to working with the Government in the rollout to grow the broader participation rate. Parallel to this is the commitment of the Government to the “Women In Recreational Fishing” (WIRF) program, which has now been upgraded to “Women In Recreational Fishing & Boating” (WIRFAB)
AFTA used the opportunity to advocate for adopting the centralisation of boat ramps management across Western Port Bay and Port Phillip Bay and associated land and parking to Better Boating Victoria.
Finally, we had discussions with Travis Dowling, CEO of VFA, on the Western Port Bay fishery & the dramatic decrease in snapper numbers despite the removal of commercial netting.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA – Ministerial Meeting
The AFTA board met with The Hon. Clare Scriven, South Australian Minister for Primary Industries, on May 10th. Whilst the National Recreational Fishing Survey results show South Australia having a 26% participation rate and contributing $1.0b to the SA GDP, much more can be done to grow recreational fishing across the state.
Given a critical point in the Labor election policy was to “support recreational fishing programs for women, children and diverse, multicultural communities”, AFTA put to Minister Scriven the need to use the Let’s Fish SA media campaign to grow participation, particularly those on the very fringe of engagement, that is what the campaign was designed for. It was very disappointing that despite providing some of the funding, the previous Government did nothing with the finished product.
In that vein, AFTA promoted the Victorian model of the “Women In Recreational Fishing & Boating” program, created by the Victorian Fisheries Authority and now adopted by the Qld Government as a positive way of increasing participation and boosting gender equality. This program, supported by the Government, but driven by participants, is a standout model for growing our base.
The issue of Snapper Closures and the heavy impact on our industry is very much on the mind of not only our South Australian members but also our national supply chain. AFTA went through aspects of the AFTA “Option C” submission (2019) in managing the fishery. AFTA questioned the science and modelling used to make the decision based on feedback from eminently qualified fishery scientists in other states. The Minister has taken our representation on board but is adamant that the recent decision will stay in place for the duration and that further assessments will be made in the future.
AFTA recognise and support the Government’s endorsement of RecFishSA as the state peak body representing anglers; we pointed out that we have a slightly different focus in that we are an association made up entirely of the businesses that support, engage and drive the recreational fishing industry.
It was interesting to note that RecFishSA has commenced the discussion of a recreational fishing license to present a submission to the Government for consideration. The Minister was adamant that no licence would be introduced in this term of Government but would consider proposals, provided there was public support. The ABC (SA) ran a story on RecFishSA and the push for state-wide licensing to secure a more substantial financial base for improving the industry.
AFTA support a model of compulsory registration that identifies the actual number of recreational fishers in each state; this then increases the accuracy of any stock assessment modelling and, therefore, decision-making based on actual numbers of recreational fishers and reduces the guessometrics of the current telephone book data collection model.
We thank Minister Scriven for her time and engagement with the AFTA and look forward to working together to build our industry.
TASMANIA – Ministerial Meeting
On May 18th, the AFTA board met with The Hon Jo Campbell, Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries.
The recent release of the Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery Review has raised more than a few concerns across our industry and not just the Tasmanian stores but all of the industry that supplies and supports the Tasmanian recreational fishing industry.
Whilst the interim measures on flathead are not ideal, they are tolerable; however, the review across so many species is an unconscionable action that undermines our industry’s viability.
AFTA is working with Jane Gallichan, CEO TARFish and AFTA, to support their well-considered submission.
We appreciate the support & engagement from Tasmanian MP, The Hon Nick Duigan MLC, former host of the “Hook, Line & Sinker” show. It can make a difference just having someone who truly understands the whole of the industry at the political coalface.
Following on from the devastating Government action in shutting down Pink Snapper and Dhufish for six months a year, it is of deep concern that the WA commercial fishing sector has teamed up with the Green Council in the Shark Bay region in an attempt to impose further restrictions on recreational fishing in that region. A Landline report on May 14th exposed the agenda, which can only be to the detriment of our industry. Watch this space!!
The AFTA Board is set to meet with Minister Tara Moriarty, MLC, Minister for Agriculture, on June 6th and discuss the new Government’s agenda for recreational fishing in NSW.