Last month AFTA wrote to both the South Australian Liberal Government & Labor Opposition requesting their recreational fishing ahead of the election on 19th March (please be mindful pre-poll voting commences on the 7th March). In particular, AFTA requested their policy proposals and commitments for the Snapper Fishery and their position on Marine Parks.

AFTA have received the following responses, which have now been published on the AFTA website

From AFTA’s perspective, we appreciate each party’s responses.  Whilst there are a small number of initiatives put forward, for an industry sector that encompasses 277,000 recreational fishers and contributes more than $160m to the South Australian economy, we feel the future commitment from both parties has not gone far enough, and consider it a missed opportunity to make real change in the South Australian recreational fishing sector.  A notable absence was either party’s position on fair resource sharing allocation across species.

Labor’s Policy:

  • Ensuring a strong, independent voice for recreational fishers through RecfishSA as the independent representative voice on recreational fishing. Funding: $200,000 per annum.  (No comment on whether any changes to MRFAC)
  • Recognising recreational fishing as part of the sport and recreation sector
  • Identifying key infrastructure projects like boat ramps, jetties and wharves. (Total budget commitment is only for a $1m further upgrade to the O’Sullivan Beach Boat Ramp)
  • Ensuring greater transparency in fisheries management by better communicating about the science behind decision making with recreational fishers and the broader community. (No details provided).
  • Recognising the recreational fishing sector as a key stakeholder in the SA tourism industry and developing an integrated recreational fishing tourism plan. The strategy will be published by the beginning of 2024.
  • Supporting recreational fishing programs for women, children and diverse multicultural communities
  • Committing to work through issues with the peak body (RecFish SA) that they identify as needing to be resolved to enable recreational fishing to be sustainable and enjoyed into the future
  • Ensuring all commitments are part of a plan developed and delivered with and for the sector.

Please note no comment received on:

  • Recreational Fishing licences
  • Marine Parks
  • Future of the Snapper Fishery
  • Fair resource sharing allocation across species

 Liberal Policy:

  • Continue working towards re-opening the Snapper fishery as scheduled in February 2023.
  • Invested $500,000 (funds still ongoing) in a snapper re-stocking program to promote quicker recovery of the species. In late 2022 outcomes from additional science on snapper biomass recovery will be released. This science will assist the future plans, surrounding reopening the fishery and recreational bag and boat limits.
  • Encourage fishers to report their snapper catches on the SA Recreational Fishing app.
  • Committed to the increase the sustainability of key fish stocks by adopting modern fisheries management underpinned by expert fisheries science – and investing in data collection about the actual catch of recreational fishers. (Lacking relevant detail)
  • Provide $100,000 over two years for regional recreational fishing activity grants to encourage people to get involved in fishing,
  • Provide $20,000 towards a Golden Fish Tag Competition,
  • Provide MRFAC $30,000 to promote recreational citizen science initiatives
  • Committed to no additional marine parks to be sought as part of the statutory review which is to be undertaken later in 2022, providing all fishing stakeholders certainty for the future.
  • Opposed to the introduction of a recreational fishing license

Please note no comment received on:

  • Fair resource sharing allocation across species