The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc (AFANT) today released a detailed and considered submission into the NT Governments ‘Protecting our Reef Fish’ which is the second consultation paper on changes to recreational fishing controls.
“AFANT has supported the majority of the proposals in the consultation paper contingent on other actions being committed to by the NT Government to address our key concerns,” said AFANT President Warren de With today.
“The AFANT submission has been developed with a detailed understanding of the complexity of the issue, canvassing or investigating all available alternative options and is based on extensive feedback and consultation with AFANT members.
While we fully understand that there are different views in the fishing community, AFANT believes the positions outlined in our submission strike the right balance to ensure anglers can still enjoy fishing and taking home a reasonable feed of fish while the regulations provide adequate protection for the resource.
We believe that the significant changes and reduction of fishing effort proposed in the government’s discussion paper need to be implemented across all sectors to have the required effect.
AFANT’s support for the recreational fishing regulation changes are contingent on the implementation of the Greater Darwin Fisheries Management Zone controls as outlined in the commercial fishing and tour operator sector discussion papers, a buyout of commercial effort in the coastal line fishery in the proposed Greater Darwin Fisheries Management Zone area, the introduction of the proposed cap on FTO licenses based on a 5 year catch history and funding for education and enforcement.
AFANT has supported the proposed area closures, vessel limits, size limits and the majority of the proposed possession limit reductions but has rejected the proposed possession limit change for black jewfish and the removal of the at home exemption.
What is clearly in the best interest of the angling community is that changes are made to sufficiently ensure we are not having similar discussions in 5 to 10 years time on more serious regulatory controls because we have not made a sufficient reduction of effort in the fishery.” Mr de With said.
The NT is currently facing one of its biggest challenges in fisheries management with the real problems that have developed around the sustainability of coastal reef fish golden snapper and black jewfish stocks in areas of high population (mostly limited to areas around Darwin).
What is clear is that real and significant action needs to be taken by all sectors; recreational, charter operators and commercial, to reduce the harvest and effort on the stocks as well as increasing the egg production to a level that will ensure future generations can enjoy these great fish within reach of population centres like Darwin.
NT fisheries through 2012-13 have released a number of papers seeking input to regulation changes to address the reef fish sustainability issues.
This is the AFANT submission on the second consultation paper submitted on the 11th November 2013
More information and the full fisheries consultation paper can be found at the NT fisheries website http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Fisheries/rfc/index.cfm?pg=recommendations