The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc (AFANT) held its 2013 Annual General Meeting at the Tracy Village Social and Sports Club on the weekend.
At a well-attended meeting a number of important issues to recreational anglers in the Northern Territory were discussed, with special guest the Minister for Fisheries Willem Westra van Holthe and presentations from Vista Gold on water discharges from Mt Todd and Fisheries on the golden snapper and black jewfish reef fish stocks.
“I thank AFANT members and supporters for their attendance at the AGM and their interest, input and thoughtful questioning of our presenters at the AGM.” Said AFANT President Warren de With today.
“Issues that were discussed at the meeting included Blue Mud Bay and the Tiwi Island lockout, managing the environmental impact from legacy mines, implementing effective and equitable changes while protecting snapper and jewfish and ensuring that mining, oil and gas and other resource developments preserve the spectacular fishing and environment in the NT.”
“I thank outgoing committee members Cathy Bassett and Peter (Polly) Russell for their contribution, knowledge and efforts to the AFANT committee and we welcome new committee member Megan Brown who was elected to the committee.”
“On behalf of those nominated to serve for another term, I thank the members for their support.”
“AFANT has released its annual report for 2013 which is available at the AFANT office or online at
“The committee has a full agenda for the coming year and we look forward to the challenges and opportunities to further enhance and protect the recreational fishing opportunities in the Territory.” Mr de With
The Amateur fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc. AFANT is extremely concerned with the allocation of 5,800 megalitres of water to Stylo station outside the formal water planning process and the real potential for impact on the rivers relying on the Mataranka -Tindall aquifer; particularly the Roper River system.
“Such a large water allocation, which is clearly not constant with the draft Tindall water plan, raises real concerns with the potential impact on the Roper River.” Said AFANT President Warren de With today.
“This process sets a real and negative precedent for unsustainable water allocations in the future not just for the Tindall aquifer but for all water ways.”
“The Tindall aquifer was subject to a water management planning process with representatives from all sectors of the community including pastoral, horticulture, conservation, Indigenous, mining community representatives and departmental water planners.”
“The detailed water allocation plan they developed over 3 years which establishes the process and volumes for water allocations this draft plan has been waiting for ministerial sign off and was completed in November 2011.”
“When the Stylo Station application was first submitted AFANT objected due to concerns with the impact on dry season flows and the health of the Roper River and its fisheries downstream.”
“What was clear is that the Government water planners had similar views and that all stakeholders agreed that the best approach was to implement the formal water allocation plan.”
“We are strongly of the view that a clear and structured resource sharing approach is required through the finalisation of the WAP, taking into consideration the full impact on the entire aquifer/river system and other proposed water extractions including mining water use.”
“The individual granting of large water allocations outside a formal, broader consideration of risks has the potential to lead to significant equity issues and the over allocation of the water resource. This creates significant environmental impacts and, as has been experienced in southern states, it is extremely difficult to wind back water resource allocations once they are made.”
“AFANT has a strong interest in ensuring water allocations in the system protect the dry season water flows in the Roper River which are entirely reliant on the aquifer to ensure that they are protected into the future.” Mr de With said.
RECREATIONAL FISHING IN 2013 ? MEETING THE CHALLENGES
AFANT 2013 Annual General Meeting
Access to waters covered by the Blue Mud Bay decision and the Tiwi Island lockout, managing the environmental impact from legacy mines, implementing effective and equitable changes while protecting snapper and jewfish and ensuring that mining, oil and gas and other resource developments preserve the spectacular fishing and environment in the NT. These are just some of the significant challenges for AFANT and the NT Government in 2013.
These and other issues will be under the spotlight at AFANT’s Annual General Meeting which will be held at 10:00 am on Sunday 24 March at Tracy Village Social and Sports Club, Tambling Terrace, Lyons.
“We have reached a critical point in the Blue Mud Bay negotiations with a number of agreements recently reached and a few more apparently in the pipeline.”
“We have asked Minister for Fisheries Willem Westra van Holthe to give us a report at the AGM on the current agreements, proposed outcomes and how it will impact on our fishing access,” said AFANT President Warren de With.
“We have also requested that the Minister also provides information on the promised buy back of commercial barramundi fishing licenses, the proposed changes to reef fish possession limits and how the government will ensure the equity of resource allocation in any changes.”
“Legacy mines sites are causing great concern across the Territory with Mt Todd, Rum Jungle and Redbank just three examples of what can go wrong when the pressure for mining development overrides proper environmental management or concerns.”
“Mining and other resources projects are coming on stream at a rapid rate here in the Territory and AFANT is concerned to ensure that the companies involved recognise that they have a responsibility to preserve our great Territory lifestyle including our recreational fishing.”
“At the meeting on Sunday Vista Gold General manager Brent Murdoch will be updating members on water quality and treatment at the Mt Todd site.”
“AFANT has invited Vista Gold to explain how they can guarantee that releases will have no impact on the river health and fisheries downstream including the Daly River, it’s a great opportunity for AFANT members to put any questions and concerns directly to the company at the meeting.”
“NT Fisheries will also be presenting the latest information on the golden snapper and jewfish stocks.”
“There is a great deal happening in our fishery at present and this will be another important meeting for AFANT and for the NT’s recreational fishing community,” Mr de With said.
The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc (AFANT) has called on the NT Government for additional information and wider testing of fish in both the Daly River and other areas of the NT in light of the recent test results showing above average levels of mercury in Barramundi in the Daly River.
“While any elevated levels of mercury in fish are a concern it’s important that the community understands that the results are below the safe levels set by FSANZ”. Said AFANT President Warren de With today.
“AFANT is concerned that the FSANZ report raises more questions than it provides answers; the inconsistency in reporting, species tested, and the level of information provided makes comparing the results of the testing almost impossible.”
“It’s not clear why Barramundi are the only species included in the August 2012 report on the Daly River which is different to previous reports making the two sets of results difficult to compare.”
“Barramundi are recognised by FSANZ as a higher risk species for the accumulation of mercury and simple precautions should be taken by high risk groups including pregnant women and children.”
“Government now has an obligation to address the serious information gaps to better inform the community of all possible risks and causes and appropriate measures that need to be taken.”
“From the national and international data on barramundi, larger older fish are more likely to have higher levels of mercury buildup than smaller younger fish so AFANT’s key message of ‘let the big barra go’ is even more pertinent.”
“AFANT has called on the government to conduct wider testing of fish to ascertain if the elevated levels are due to natural mercury accumulation in barramundi or if this is a Daly River specific issue.”
“AFANT has also requested a catchment study of potential point sources in the catchment, including old mining sites that may be causing higher than expected mercury levels.”
“When it comes to potential issues of public health, government has an obligation to ensure all potential risks are identified and the community has the facts so they can make informed decisions.” Mr de With said.
Media enquiries to Craig Ingram on 08 8945 6455, 0415 471 600 or Warren de With on 08 8972 1589
Amateur Fishermen’s Association NT
08 8945 6455
0415 471 600