Damian Kerves reports on the concerns of the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW over the release of a paper from the NSW Department of Primary Industries on Animal Welfare Reform, without adequate consultation with key stakeholders. Recreational fishers have NOT been consulted. It proposes changes to definitions of cruelty and harm that could affect how we fish.

Every NSW fisher should be questioning why the NSW Government would blindly support new laws that will specifically include psychological suffering as a definition of cruelty, in addition to already adequate existing legislation around pain and physical suffering.

The core issue is about changing the definition of harm to include psychological harm. The words “at all times” (used in Proposal 3 of the Discussion Paper) suggest that a new Act will govern the interactions people have with fish, crustaceans and molluscs—not only in captivity but also in the wild—which means a new Act will specifically regulate fishing. The proposed changes would undoubtedly lead to unintended consequences to recreational and commercial fishing, particularly under Proposals 4 (Introduce a minimum care requirement) and 5 (Update the definition of cruelty).

As fishers, we should all be gravely concerned about how these statements made in the NSW Parliament by the Animal Justice Party’s Emma Hurst, Member of the Legislative Council,  target fishing and eating of fish.

Click here to read the letter sent from the Recreational Fishing Alliance to Minister, The Hon Adam Marshall.