AFTA Chairs Report January 2020

by | Jan 22, 2020

 The past few months have been a devastating period for Australia as a whole, but in particular to our recreational fishing industry. The Christmas period is our peak industry period, the flow on effect of economic support through the whole community has been severely impacted and recovery will take some time and an enormous effort.

I congratulate the AFTA Board for initiating the “Australian Fishing Industry Disaster Appeal”, which at the time of my writing this column had nearly reached its goal of $100k in total.

Now we must develop our marketing plan, importantly hand-in-hand with those affected areas to get people back there.

AFTA have reached out to responsible Ministers in NSW, Victoria & South Australia, plus Jon Duniam, Federal Minister for Fishing and Regional Tourism, informing them of our program and seeking funding support to match our spend.

They have acknowledged our support; we will now see if funds become available to support our drive to get Recfishers back into those affected communities.

Queensland Recreational Fishing Policy

The Queensland Election is due on the 31st October, we, as the peak industry body, must put our policy case early to both the government, opposition & minor parties for consideration and inclusion.
We seek your input into what you, as the face of the industry, want in that policy proposal. You are at the coal face so to say dealing with recreational fishers across the counter on a daily basis. Your input to this policy is critical
AFTA have already reached out to all political parties and will commence face to face discussions in late February.

Northern Territory Recreational Fishing Policy

The NT Election is due on 22nd August 2020 and again, AFTA is looking for members input into a policy platform to be presented to all political parties in the NT.
AFTA have already reached out to all political parties and will commence face to face discussions in late February.

SA Snapper Tag Ballot

The South Australian Government have failed our Recfishing industry with their Snapper Harvest Tag program for the South East waters. The Government only allocated 3030 Snapper tags to 606 SA Recfishers by means of random ballots this season (1 Feb – 31 Oct) for the South East Area of SA.

The breakdown of the 75,000kg Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is:

• Charter Boat Operators 7,500kg (3788 tags)
• Recreational Fishers 6,000kg (3030 tags to 606 people)
• Commercial Fishery 60,750kg

The Ballot closed on the 19th January.

AFTA Information Kiosks

 

AFTA will shortly commence a program for the role out of the “AFTA Information Kiosk” pilot program. The kiosk is designed to provide information to Recfishers & feedback to AFTA to help develop a better cross-sectional picture of our industry.

The pilot program will consist of 8 – 10 stand-alone tablets housed in a stand with its own Wi-Fi capability. All information gathered will go directly back to AFTA.

More details will be posted onto our AFTA website shortly.

FRDC – National Recreational Fishing Survey

AFTA have been in discussions with the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation re: the “National Recreational Fishing Survey”, a survey designed specifically for recreational fishers.

The impact the bushfires have had on much of South Eastern Australia coastal communities has been substantial, particularly to those in recreational fishing and such its flow-on effect for people potentially participating in the online survey.

FRDC announced that they have extended the end date of the survey from mid-February to mid-May.
To engage people again in the survey, after the fires, FRDC are looking to add some additional prizes. They will now have weekly, monthly and a grand prize.

For the monthly prize FRDC would like to give back to fire affected communities so FRDC are looking at providing holiday accommodation packages in those areas.

For the Grand Prize FRDC are looking at a live aboard fishing trip with Steve and Jo Starling.
The weekly prizes will be fishing tackle packs (provided by AFTA Members) for the period February to mid-May (15 weeks).

The link to the National Recreational Fishing survey is http://www.nationalrecsurvey.com.au/, note that there is also a social media presence for the survey as well https://www.facebook.com/nationalrecsurvey/

Your Input Required – Environmental Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act Review

I reach out again to all members for their input into a proposed AFTA submission to the EPBC Act Review which is currently being undertaken by the Commonwealth Government.

This is very detailed review of the whole of the EPBC Act of which the Commonwealth Marine Parks are a part of that review process.

From the Government website:

“All interested parties are invited to provide formal written submissions to the review, particularly in response to the ideas and questions set out in the discussion paper. You are encouraged to provide your submission as early as possible as this feedback will shape thinking and inform further consultation with stakeholders in 2020.

The due date for submissions on the discussion paper has been extended to 17 April 2020.

Our preference is to receive written contributions electronically using the online form, but contributions can also be made by post or email. Please read ‘Other ways to make submissions’ below for more information.

Unless you indicate that your contribution is confidential, or the review considers that your contribution is offensive, potentially defamatory or includes irrelevant or personal information, your contribution will be published on the review website along with your name or organisation. Your submission may be referred to, or quoted from in review reports. For more information on how the review will treat submissions please read the submissions guidelines.

Please note that submissions close date has been changed from the 14th February to 17th April due to the bushfires.

I look forward to receiving your input.

The Hon. Bob Baldwin
Chair