“AFTA has worked very hard with the South Australian Government in advancing ideas and providing solutions for our industry”

The Hon Bob Baldwin

AFTA Independant Chair

AFTA Chairs Report October 2020

The past month has seen border changes particularly beneficial to the recreational fishing sector. It is important to be up to date as the situation is very fluid, to say the least, please visit to check you have the latest information.

Whilst our industry is made up of very committed people, any further tightening of restrictions may not be survivable for some. AFTA maintains its’ position of urging responsible engagement and social distancing, ensuring that the rules of each state are adhered to.

AFTA Committee Members Induction Info – Good Governance
AFTA has developed a Directors Induction Information Pack, I have appreciated the comments and feedback, and this will now be a live document to grow as conditions and opportunities change. It will be provided in hard copy to all directors.

AFTA representative to MRFAC Board in SA
AFTA has worked very hard with the South Australian Government in advancing ideas and providing solutions for our industry. As a result, Minister David Basham has designated AFTA a position on the Ministerial Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee (MRFAC). AFTA is fortunate to have a person of the calibre of Alicia Bolitho, Tackle World Port Lincoln not only as an AFTA member, but a new AFTA board member to take up this position. You can read the media release here.

Qld Recreational Fishing Grants
At the last AFTA Board meeting, it was decided to lodge two separate applications to the Queensland Recreational Fishing Grants Program. The first application is for the “Let’s Fish Qld” video campaign and the second, the “Indigenous Youth Recreational Fishing Cultural Exchange Program” delivered

via IYMP – Indigenous Youth Mobility Pathways, for young leaders from the remote communities of Queensland. Copies of Grant Applications were sent to all board members prior to submission.

I am pleased to announce to the AFTA Board that we have been successful in both grant applications and contracts will be finalised shortly.
I have appreciated President, Michael Starkey’s advise and support for the Let’s Fish Qld and Qld Board member Kord Luckus for input and support on the IPYM Fishing Program.

South Australia Wellbeing Grant
On the 12 October, AFTA commenced negations for the “Let’s Fish SA” program grant. It is anticipated that a final outcome will be determined shortly. The feedback from the various departments and MRFAC is very positive.

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 1064 students since 2018. AFTA will lodge an application for Phase 4 with the aim to increase the number of schools in the program as well and producing the “intermediate level” fishing video program.

The Queensland elections are due on the 31st October, AFTA has submitted a policy request to all Political Parties ahead of the election. A copy is available on the AFTA website and it has been linked to AFTA & KAF social media.
Whilst COVID has dominated the headlines; we must remain diligent that the recreational fishing concerns are heard. It is also critical people obey the social distancing requirements otherwise border restrictions may be re-introduced

Whilst the situation is not optimal at present, there are opportunities. It is disappointing that the rumour and myth mill has circulated incorrect information about recreational fishing on the Murray River. First claiming Victorians were banned, then allowed, then that NSW people were being fined for fishing when Victorians weren’t.
By way of background, the NSW/Victorian border is the high-water mark on the Victorian side of the Murray River.
AFTA sought clarification from a number of government sources and the facts are:

  • There is a closed fishing season between September and November for trout cod breeding.
  • ALL FISHING is prohibited during September to November inclusive within the Trout Cod Protection Area, downstream of the Yarrawonga Weir (weir at the outlet of Mulwala Lake) to the Tocumwal Road Bridge.
  • Victorians are allowed to fish the Murray River, subject to seasonal closures, but at this stage cannot alight on the NSW bank or infrastructure.

Full details are available on the AFTA website.

New South Wales
In relation to the above, NSW DPI has been outstanding in providing accurate information to AFTA on the NSW/Vic -border fishing issue.
NSW DPI’s COVID initiative to develop “The Fishing Stream” Livestream program in conjunction with Tackle Stores is going extremely well.
Episode 1 (14 August) at Nowra Tackleworld is available here to watch
Episode 2 (17 September) live-streamed from Batemans Bay is now available here to watch
With the success of the program, NSW DPI will soon conduct Episode 3.
With people focusing on Social Media at present this is a fantastic way of reaching out and engaging recreational fishers at all levels. They are aiming to hold events at as many regional tackle shops as possible, covering info on key fish species and fisheries.

The Government is undertaking consultation process in releasing a discussion paper “Towards a 10-year vision for Recreational Sea Fishing in Tasmania” AFTA urges members & recfishers to make submissions by October 25th. Details are available here.

The FRDC held the “Commonwealth fisheries resource sharing framework – recreational sector workshop” facilitated by Dr Ian Knuckey on the 2nd October. I represented AFTA and along with various stakeholder representatives’ strong discussions were held on how best to go forward.
The next session, which will include all sectors of the Fishing Industry will be held on the 26th of October. AFTA maintained its position, as per our submission, which can be read here.
Further details are available here.

R&D Plan Roadmaps
On behalf of AFTA, I will be participating in the FRDC strategic R&D Plan for 2020-2025. The conference program runs over 5 full days and whilst the focus in on the commercial sector, I will endeavour to have the recreational fishers voice heard as much as possible.
The purpose is to promote cooperation across all sectors of fishing and aquaculture, fisheries managers, researchers and associated services in developing clear, actionable, shared roadmaps on how each of the five R&D Plan outcomes can be achieved over the next five years.
Details for each event are provided below:
Outcome 1 (Growth for enduring prosperity) –Thu 15 October, 10 am AEDT-3.30pm
Outcome 2 (Best practices and production systems) – Fri 16 October, 10am AEDT-3.30pm
Outcome 3 (A culture that is inclusive and forward-thinking) – Wed 21 October (Time TBC)
Outcome 4 (Fair and secure access to aquatic resources) – Fri 23 October (Time TBC)
Outcome 5 (Community trust, respect and value) – Tue 27 October, Time TBC)

As AFTA’s representative on ARFF I report:
Gone Fishing Day. – UPDATE
Gone Fishing Day (GFD) is run by the ARFF and was held on Sunday, October 18th this year.
There was a change in format due to COVID-19 restrictions, differing from state to state.
Check the ARFF webpage 
Whilst the case varies in each state, AFTA acknowledges some tough decisions had to be taken to avoid mass gatherings, so GFD will now be a Recfishing event with catches and engagement shown through social media platforms rather than mass gatherings (check each state for details).

The State links for Gone Fishing Day 2020 are
As at writing this report, South Australia, Queensland, & Northern Territory were yet to commit to the GFD.