The Blog

Media Release – Executive Officer Appointment

i Feb 16th No Comments by

Media Release EO appointment

AFANT MEDIA RELEASE – Comments on Rec Fishing Controls

i Sep 26th No Comments by

The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc (AFANT) has encouraged recreational anglers to have their say on the latest consultation paper from the NT Government; ‘Protecting our reef fish and the future quality of our recreational fishery’.

“AFANT has real concerns with the sustainability of key reef fish species golden snapper and black jewfish and believe that measures need to be taken now that are sufficient to ensure that recreational fishers can continue to enjoy this great reef fishery into the future.” Said AFANT President Warren de With today.

“AFANT will be seeking comments and feedback from AFANT members and the broader angling community on the proposed changes to possession limits and proposed closed areas, to inform a detailed submission to the paper.”

“What is clear is that for well over a decade the scientific and catch and effort data on snapper and jewfish has shown significant declines in the resource and measures must be taken to protect and recover the stocks.”

“It is also essential that management changes are implemented across all sectors of the fishery at the same time and AFANT will be making sure that the charter and commercial sectors pull their weight in the efforts to recover the stocks.”

“AFANT has and will continue to take a conservative approach to protecting recreational fishing resources in the Northern Territory to ensure that the great territory lifestyle and spectacular fishing opportunities continue to be available to recreational fishers across the NT.”

“AFANT has argued that fisheries management actions must be sufficient to ensure that the quality of recreational fishing experiences continue to be available.”

“It is essential that recreational fishers understand the proposal changes and have their say.” Mr de With said.

The paper can be found at http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Fisheries/rfc/

 

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.

http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Fisheries/index.cfm?newscat1=&newscat2=&header=Small%20Pelagic%20Fish%20and%20Squid

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 sophie@trctourism.com

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.

 http://www.fishing.nt.gov.au/update.html

This is a link to the latest update from the NT Government on the Blue Mud Bay negotiations and outcomes http://www.fishing.nt.gov.au/update.html

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:
http://www.ntepa.nt.gov.au/environmental-assessments/assessment/register/mount_todd_gold

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.

AFANT expresses real concern over Sherwin Iron bulk ore transport

i Jun 28th No Comments by

The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc. (AFANT) has called on the NT Government not to allow the transport of 200,000 tonnes of iron ore up the Roper Highway until the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

AFANT has always taken a strong interest in the Sherwin project to ensure that there is no impact on the safety of recreational anglers and others travelling to the Roper River from mine traffic or any potential environmental impact on the Roper River.

“AFANT has real safety concerns with the large number of trucks proposed to travel the Roper Highway every day over the next few months.” AFANT president Mr Warren de With said today.

“We understand that convoys of up to 8 road trains will travel each way up the narrow and poor quality Roper Highway 115 km from the Sherwin mine to the Stuart Highway at Mataranka and on to Darwin.”

“The quality of the road surface and safety of other vehicles travelling this road will clearly be impacted by this high level of road train transport.”

“More serious is the policy settings of government which have allowed what can only be described as mining activity over the next 3 to 4 months without completion of the required Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) even being received or approved by the NT EPA.”

“Mine site and native vegetation clearing, rock and soil overburden removal, road construction, 200,000 tonnes of ore extraction and transportation is mining operations and should be subject to the full EIS.”

“This is just mining in the guise of a sham bulk ore extraction and should not be allowed until the EIS is approved.” Mr de With said.

 

AFANT statement on the Finniss River closure

i Apr 26th No Comments by

The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc. (AFANT) has been working behind the scenes in an attempt to resolve the issues at the centre of the Finniss River closure. Over recent weeks AFANT has had discussions with all parties involved including some of the traditional owners, the Northern Land Council and the Northern Territory Government.

While we fully understand the level of concern and angst that the Finniss River closure has caused many recreational anglers, AFANT would encourage calm and respect in any commentary as we believe that there is still an opportunity for this and other intertidal water areas to be resolved to ensure permit free access across the NT to recreational anglers.

AFANT is concerned with the apparent breakdown in the negotiations which led to the Finniss River closure and we are prepared if required, to assist in bringing the party’s back to the table.

AFANT has been informed by the Minister William Westra van Holthe, that he intends to become more directly involved in the negotiations and will keep AFANT informed on the status of those negotiations.

The Minister has written to AFANT requesting that AFANT not approach or attempt to become directly involved in the Finniss River or other Blue Mud Bay negotiations unless requested by the government.

While we are extremely disappointed with the closure of the upper tidal reaches of the Finniss River we believe that with an element of good will from the TO’s, recreational fishers and real involvement at higher levels of government, there is an opportunity to re-engage and resolve the issues and to get the area reopened to recreational fishers.

AFANT understands that the main issues of concern which has led to the closure by the traditional owners are non-fishing related and involve illegal activities on Aboriginal land including quad bikes, trespass and hunting and shooting livestock and crocodiles.

AFANT asks all fishers to respect the closure and give the government and the TO’s time to resolve the issue. For more information on the areas in question please refer to the NLC http://www.nlc.org.au/media-releases/article/upper-finniss-river-update/ or the NT Government http://www.fishing.nt.gov.au/ websites.

AFANT understands that there is some concern around the precise boundary between some traditional owners within the Delissaville/Wagait/Larrakia Aboriginal Land Trust which is at the centre of the closure line on the tidal sections of the Finniss River.

It is now fully up to Minister William Westra van Holthe and the Government to deliver on the agreement and resolve this complex issue. AFANT will reassess our position and the governments progress over the coming weeks and will pass on any information to members as it comes to hand on the Finniss River closure and other Blue Mud Bay issues.

AFANT Annual General Meeting 2013

i Mar 19th No Comments by

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.