AFTA is looking at partnerships to commence rolling this very successful school-based fishing programme model through all states in Australia

The Hon Bob Baldwin

AFTA Independant Chair

AFTA Chairs Report November 2020

AFTA’s work in taking forward the issues of concern and representing our members’ interests is the Number 1 priority at AFTA.  We work to make sure the policy balance is right, that unnecessary restrictions on business are minimised and that every opportunity for growth is sought out.

Whilst there have been some trading setbacks over the past 12 months, reports are coming in that trade growth is increasing and most have gotten through so far albeit a little bruised and dented along the way.

We all need to be mindful and diligent of COVID safe practices in our businesses.  It would be ideal if all AFTA members downloaded and promoted the QR Code Scan or app at your premises to help with tracking. There are State QR Codes and also private providers of QR Code applications that you can use in your store for the collection of data that is good for COVID tracing as well as building your customer database.

If we all work to help minimise the spread, we can work towards freedom of movement and that means more customers through the doors and at the tills.

For the latest info on borders please see to check you have the latest information available.


On the 12 October, AFTA commenced negations for the “Let’s Fish SA” program grant.   I am happy to report that AFTA has received a grant to produce the Let’s Fish SA” program.  This will be done in conjunction with the SA Dept of Tourism, Dept of Well-being and the MRFAC.

The issue of King George Whiting commercial takes has been raised, AFTA is fortunate to have AFTA Board member Alicia Bolitho as member of the SA MRFAC strongly representing the views of the recreational fishers.  Please reach out with your views to either myself or to Alicia Bolitho as discussions with Minister Basham will continue.

On a positive note, the SA Government, on the advice of the MRFAC, has moved to drop the ill-fated South East Zone Snapper Harvest Tag program after an appalling lack of use which indicates that tags were taken by those not intending to use the tags.  AFTA welcome the move to compulsory reporting of the catch on the PIRSA App.  It is interesting to note that they have adopted the AFTA Option “C” recommendation of a bag limit of 2 fish as a management approach.



Following on from the NSW DPI’s initiative to develop “The Fishing Stream” livestream programme in conjunction with Tackle Stores, Episode III was held on Thursday, 19 Nov at the South Nowra Compleat Angler shop. The species for discussion was dusky flathead,  hosted by Steve Starling with DPI’s Jim Harnwell and Chris Cleaver talking about C&R, specialist lure techniques and bait fishing plus tagging with special appearances from DPI research scientist Dr Julian Hughes (flathead biology) and local flathead guru Dave Johnson (more lure tips).

NSW DPI is planning more episodes over coming months, with episodes on Murray Cod, Kingfish, Bream etc.

If you want to check out the Episodes:

Episode 1 (14 August) at Nowra TackleWorld – Feature Species Snapper

Episode 2 (17 September) BCF Batemans Bay  – Feature Species Mulloway

Episode 3 (19 November) Compleat Angler & Camping World Nowra  – Feature Species Dusky Flathead

With people focusing on Social Media at present this is a fantastic way of reaching out and engaging recreational fishers at all levels.

NSW Recreational Fishing Grant

Following on from the success of the first 3 Phases of the “ Lets Go Fishing – NSW Schools Program” where AFTA and the Marine Teachers Association have connected with over 60 schools and 1000 students since 2018, AFTA will lodge an application for Phase 4 with the aim to increase the number of schools partaking in the program as well as producing the “intermediate level” fishing video program. AFTA is looking at partnerships to commence rolling this very successful school-based fishing programme model through all states in Australia.


The Queensland elections were held on October 31,  and AFTA congratulates the government on the election outcome and in particular The Hon Mark Furner MP on his reappointment as Minister responsible for recreational fishing.  We look forward to continuing our working relationship over a number of issues.

Qld Recreational Fishing Grants

The Qld Grants have been signed and work is well underway on 2 outstanding projects.

“Indigenous Youth Mobility Pathways (IYMP) Program” which will engage Indigenous youth in weekend workshops at Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton & Brisbane in a cultural exchange of modern and traditional fishing methods.

“Let’s Fish Qld” is a social media program with strong messaging to people to either reconnect with fishing or to take up fishing for the very first time.


AFTA worked with Recreational Fisheries Minister, Melissa Horne’s office on legislative amendments to Crown Lands Act to allow access to Crown “License” land to allow camping.  Recreational activities such as bushwalking, recreational fishing, bird watching, swimming were already allowed on Crown “License” Land without the need to seek license holder’s permission.

This legislative change allowed for camping in the areas between 20m and 200m from the waterfront without the need to seek license holder permission.  It is critical to note this does not infer access rights to Crown “Lease” land which by its nature the leaseholder has exclusive use rights.

Please note this whilst legislation was introduced into Parliament’s Legislative Assembly in 2019 it only went to the Legislative Council on the 12 November.  It will come into play from September 1 2021.

AFTA only receiving details of the Government legislation the night before, but in a spirit of co-operation AFTA reached out to the Cross Bench to help secure the votes to get the Legislation through without amendment.


I would like to remind all members that the WA Elections are due on the 13 March 2021, if you have issues that need raising, then please keep us at AFTA informed.  AFTA readily acknowledge the outstanding work that RecFishWest do for recreational fishers in WA and will work with them on issues that need to be represented to the WA Government.


The FRDC’s “Commonwealth fisheries resource sharing framework – recreational sector workshop” engagement process has now been completed.   I represented AFTA and along with various stakeholder representatives’ strong discussions were held on how best to go forward.

The final framework will be released by the end of 2020, for further details you can read here.