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AFANT InDepth Newsletter 29 July 2013

i Jul 29th No Comments by

Department of Fisheries Discussion Paper – Small Pelagic Fish & Squid

Attached below is a link to a discussion paper recently released by the NT Government Fisheries division.

Clearly AFANT has concerns with the sustainability and potential flow-on impact on important recreational species of this proposal as it targets the very important bait species that almost all the Northern Territory Bluewater species rely.

AFANT would like your views on this proposal.

Parks Tourism and Recreation Masterplan

The Parks and Wildlife Commission with Tourism NT and the Department of Business have announced that consultation will be conducted to deliver a Parks Tourism and Recreation Masterplan.

One of the objectives of the plan is to “set a clear direction for developing and managing recreation and tourism values and opportunities for the Territory’s most visited parks for the next ten years.”

AFANT will be providing input to ensure ongoing and improved access to important areas within the NT parks estate into the plan and would encourage interested recreational anglers to have their say.

Parks will be holding;

Community and recreation user group open forums at:

  • Casuarina Coastal Reserve (Dripstone Cliffs) on Saturday August 10 from 2pm to 5pm; and
  • Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve on Sunday 11 August from 2pm to 5pm

 Tourism Industry Forums will be held:

  • Katherine – Town Council on Thursday 8 August from 6pm to 7.30pm;
  • Alice Springs – Alice Springs Desert Park on Tuesday 13 August from 2pm to 4pm; and
  • Darwin – Rydges Airport Resort on Wednesday 14 August from 4pm to 6pm.

Please note, to attend the Tourism Industry Forums please RSVP to

Blue Mud Bay and Finniss Closure

As in our last newsletter sent out in June, there has been little development on reopening the Finniss River closed areas.

Discussions are still underway for a number of areas including the Tiwi Islands, the area including Fog Bay, bottom section of the tidal reaches of the Finniss River, little Finniss and Blaze/Jenny Point. We understand that the government is still in discussions with the traditional owners around the closed areas of the Finniss River above 12 ½ km from the Finniss mouth. The exact marks are on the NLC website.

This is a link to the latest update from the NT Government on the Blue Mud Bay negotiations and outcomes

At the NLC full council meeting, the interim arrangements which have been put in place to allow negotiations between traditional owners and the NT Government to resolve access arrangements, including for recreational fishing to Blue Mud Bay waters, has been extended for a further six months from June 30 to December 31.

Essentially this retains the status quo until the end of the year.

Your Eyes on the Water

One of the main reasons given for the closure of the upper tidal sections of the Finniss River by Traditional Owners is the illegal activities including shooting, quad bikes and trespass on Aboriginal lands. Access to Aboriginal land requires a permit.

Most disappointing is that the fishing rights and access of genuine law abiding recreational fishers has been put at risk through the actions of a few.

AFANT is aware that a small number of people are totally disregarding the Finniss River closure as well as accessing other Aboriginal lands in the areas south of Dundee with quad bikes for fishing and shooting.

AFANT is particularly concerned with the continued activity in areas where sensitive Blue Mud Bay negotiations are being undertaken as this activity has the potential to jeopardise these discussions and may impact ongoing access.

If you are out on the water and see people acting suspiciously or accessing Aboriginal lands please report this activity to AFANT or the water police on 08 8936 4812.

AFANT is particularly interested in identifying boats that have been set up to carry quad bikes as these are operating in a number of areas and we have information that suggests that they have been accessing Aboriginal lands without permits.

Genuine law abiding recreational fishers should not stand by and let a small minority who are doing the wrong thing destroy our fishing access and relationships with traditional land owners.

If you see people doing the wrong thing you should report it.

Mt Todd Gold Project EIS

The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc (AFANT) has called on interested anglers and community members to get involved and make comments on the Vista Gold Mt Todd Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

AFANT has been pushing the NT Government for many years to deal with the major legacy and pollution issues at Mt Todd and the EIS is the community’s best opportunity to ensure that we don’t turn an already large problem into an even bigger one.

The Mt Todd mine is arguably the Northern Territory’s largest and worst legacy mine site and has for over a decade caused significant toxic water to flow into the Edith River which flows into the Daly River.

Water quality at the site is a major problem with acid mine drainage contaminating a number of on-site water bodies and retention ponds with extremely low Ph water laced with high concentrates of heavy metals.

The existing Mt Todd mine which was operational between 1993 until it was abandoned in 2000 is an extremely large open cut gold mine but the proposed expansion will dwarf the current infrastructure and assets on site.
• 510 million tonnes of ore processed over the 13 years of mine life
• Mine pit will expand from 40 ha and 114mt deep to cover 137 ha and be 588 mt deep
• Waste rock dump will expand from 70 ha to 217 ha and raise from 24mt to 350mt high
• Tailings dams x2 the largest being 300ha and 60mt high

AFANT is taking a strong interest in the EIS to ensure that the proposed mining operations and post closure rehabilitation of the site can be conducted in a manner that removes the current and future water and pollution risks at Mt Todd and the Edith River.

The current Mt Todd site layout has a myriad of problems and highlights what can go wrong when poor mine design and approvals are allowed to proceed by Government. It is essential that these issues are addressed and fixed through the EIS.

AFANT will be providing detailed comments and issues of concern with the project through the EIS and we encourage others with any concerns to provide comments to the NT EPA.

One of the most important considerations for AFANT in this and other similar projects is to ensure the spectacular recreational fishing experiences in the Daly River are not put at risk.

The Mt Todd Gold Project EIS can be found at the NT EPA website:

Darwin Boat and Outdoor Show

The 2013 Darwin Boat and Outdoor Show will be held at the Darwin Convention Centre on Saturday the 31st of August and Sunday the 1st of September.

AFANT will once again have a stand at the show to provide advice on recreational fishing issues and to receive membership applications and renewals. We look forward to seeing you all down there.