AFTA members Bill Classon (AFN) and AFTA Vice President Billy Parsons (JM Gillies) brought forward an issue that should be of extreme concern to all anglers in Victoria and across Australia.

Ben Scullin, VRFish, advised AFTA of moves afoot, driven by the RSPCA, the Greens & the Animal Justice Party to implement bans and penalties on recreational fishing after the Government’s failure to explicitly exempt fishing events from its new Animal Care and Protection Bill.

The RSPCA Policy C11 Angling, adopted in 2016, wants to severely impede recreational fishing.

Recreational fishing currently has a legislative exemption/non-application (s6 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986). Recreational fishers need the current exemptions under Section 6 for fishing replicated in the new legislation rather than the specific exceptions as stated.

VRFish’s concerns with the draft Bill are the potential prosecution of catch-and-release fishers, fishing club competitions, tournament businesses and charter fishing operations. In addition, there are real concerns over 3rd party civil litigation by well-funded animal welfare groups to seek injunctions on fishing competitions.

This matter has also been raised with Travis Dowling, CEO Victorian Fisheries who stated it should not negatively impact on our industry.  AFTA have also sought an urgent meeting with Minister Steven Dimopoulous to discuss the matter.

Recreational fishers should look at the proposed changes and be informed of the actions that can potentially impact our industry.

Consultation closes on Sunday, 24th March, so you just have time to have your voice heard. We encourage Victorians to click the link to the Governments Engage VIC website and make a submission and or complete the survey.

AFTA will continue to work with VRFish, the Victorian Government & the VFA to mitigate the impact. Members and customers should also contact their local state member of parliament to raise their concerns.