The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc (AFANT) has raised a number of issues important to recreational anglers in response to the governments recently released ‘issues and risk paper’ on the proposal to further develop a small pelagic fish and squid fishery in the Northern Territory.
“Small pelagic fish and squid are a key component in the food web which drives all of the blue water game and reef fish productivity in the NT. Commercially targeting these species has the real potential to impact on the food sources and the food chain for recreationally important species.” Said AFANT President Warren de With.
“‘Find the bait, find the fish’ is a key principle of fishing blue water in the NT. Any commercial activity or harvest that affects the productivity or availability of the bait species will affect the quality of the recreational fishing blue water experience.”
“As the government has identified in the issues paper, fisheries does not have sufficient information to make an informed judgment on the capacity of the small pelagic species in the NT to sustain particular levels of harvest.”
“Any decision by government to develop this fishery must be extremely conservative as the government has identified they do not have the full required scientific information to make informed decisions.”
“AFANT has called on the NT Government to adopt best practice standards in the developing fishery in the NT to ensure no light or fad attractors can be used in conjunction with purse seine nets.”
“Maximum gear size for purse seine nets, including length and drop, should be mandated as part of a development licence condition, strict and enforceable measures of ‘catch and move on’ should be mandated to ensure no risk of localised depletion.”
“AFANT has also raised concerns with potential interaction with other popular recreational species like the important pelagic species; marlin, sailfish, mackerel and tuna as well as reef fish which rely on the bait schools.”
“AFANT has called on fisheries for a zero impact on recreational fishing from any moves to expand the harvest of bait fish in the NT.” Mr de With said
The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc (AFANT) has outlined ongoing concerns with environmental issues at Mt Todd in a submission to the draft Vista Gold Mt Todd Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
“AFANT has real concerns with the proposed expansion of the Mt Todd mine site for the site to become an even bigger environmental issue and legacy into the future with potential to impact fish and fishing in the Edith/Daly River area.” Said AFANT President Warren de With.
“In our submission we have requested more details and commitments through the EIS process to guarantee the protection of the rivers downstream.”
“In a detailed examination of the draft EIS, AFANT has raised a number of concerns with the proposed development at the site including; increased risk of groundwater contamination, ongoing untreated water discharge from RP1 and other storages, lack of site plan detail in the EIS, increased environmental risk in the event of emergency shutdown and the supersizing of all mine assets on site without a similar increase in retention and water control structures.”
“The existing Mt Todd mine is an extremely large open cut gold mine but the proposed expansion will dwarf the current infrastructure and assets on site.”
“What is clear from the EIS documentation is that Acid Rock Drainage & Metal Leaching (ARD/ML) will be an ongoing issue at the site and potentially in the rivers downstream and this must be resolved.”
“AFANT is extremely concerned that Vista Gold has not adequately addressed in the Draft EIS the issues of controlled/uncontrolled discharge from RP1 during the proposed mine operation and it seems that the easy solution of a toxic water discharge is the preferred method of management during the large rain events which occur most wet seasons in this catchment.”
“One of the most important considerations for AFANT is to ensure the spectacular recreational fishing experiences in the Daly River and other rivers downstream of the mine site are not put at risk.”
“AFANT believes that significant questions still need to be answered through the EIS process on the management both during operation and after closure of Mt Todd mine site, to ensure confidence that measures will be in place to adequately protect the rivers downstream.” Mr de With said.