Does NSW DPI want to actually listen to you on the Blue Groper issue?

The following is the AFTA submission that we have posted:

The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) acknowledge that the NSW government issued a 12 month ban on recreational line fishers taking Eastern Blue Grouper (Achoerodus) on the 1st March 2024 as a result of the very public illegal spearfishing of an Eastern Blue Grouper in February 2024, however AFTA do not agree with the ban.

Whilst AFTA fully supports the closure of any fishery when there is clear scientific evidence to show that this is the only way to sustain the fishery, AFTA does not believe this to be the case on this occasion.

AFTA support the existing spearfishing ban on Eastern Blue Groper introduced in 1969 and from commercial fishing since 1980. Indeed, AFTA would support more substantial penalties for those who knowingly take these fish, but the total ban and penalties should not have been expanded to include recreational line fishers.

The Minister should consider identifying the very specific localised areas where divers, both scuba and snorkel, regularly engage with the Eastern Blue Grouper and provide a 100m buffer zone for non-capture in those areas only.  Location identification of these specific diver tourism areas can be sought through NSW Dive Shop, Dive Charter operators and Dive clubs.

We appreciate the Minister’s efforts to undertake consultation over the next 12 months and review her decision.