AFTA have been engaged with the office of both the Minister for Agriculture (Fisheries), and NSW DPI Fisheries from the very outset representing recreational fishers interests on this matter.

There have been a number of broad sweeping statements across the industry, largely based on misunderstanding.  Attached is the latest response from Sean Sloan, Deputy Director General on the matter.

“Thanks for your call today about the animal welfare reform Discussion Paper.  As discussed, the Discussion Paper put forward a range of proposals for community feedback. I am aware that there are some misconceptions about a few of the proposals and so provide some further clarification that the proposals in the Discussion Paper will not impact fishing in NSW. 

Under NSW’s existing animal welfare laws, you can fish “in a manner that inflicts no unnecessary pain” (see Section 24b). The Discussion Paper proposes to replicate this provision in the new animal welfare framework, so that fishing will continue to be allowed. See p. 18 of the Discussion Paper for more information. 

The Discussion Paper also proposes to revise the definition of animal to include cephalopods and decapod crustaceans. This will mean that these animals will be protected from acts of cruelty.

To ensure that this change does not impact normal fishing practices, the Discussion Paper proposes that the new laws will specify that it is not an offence to use fish, cephalopods or decapod crustaceans for live bait fishing. This approach is modelled on the same provisions that exist in Queensland. See page 10 and 18 of the Discussion Paper for more information on this proposal. 

Consultation closed on 17 September, and DPI received almost 4,800 responses to the Discussion Paper from right across the community. DPI is currently reviewing the community’s feedback and will use it to refine the proposals and develop draft legislation.

I trust this information is useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require any additional information.

Yours sincerely

Sean Sloan

Further clarification response added October 23, 2021.