The AFANT 2016 Annual General Meeting will be held at 10:00 am on Sunday 6th March at Tracy Village Social and Sports Club, Tambling Terrace, Lyons.
The core business of the AGM will include the Presidents report, Treasurers report, the adoption of the 2015 AFANT Annual Report and the election of new committee members.
The major issue to be addressed at this year’s AGM will be the progress of the Dundee Beach and Shady Camp boat ramps as no construction work has commenced on this important election commitment.
AFANT President Warren de With said today “AFANT’s is eagerly awaiting the construction of the self-launch boat ramp at Dundee Beach as this is of particular interest to our members. We look forward to the government’s progress report on this issue.”
The NT Department of Fisheries will also provide an update on the monitoring program to gauge the recovery and success of the 2015 regulation changes for at-risk reef fish. In addition chief fisheries scientist Dr.Thor Saunders will conduct a presentation on the Barramundi tagging program, stock levels and recapture rates across the Northern Territory.
Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) is an issue of interest to the recreational fishing community of the NT due to the risks the industry poses to the environment, aquifers and aquatic habitats of the Top End. Mr. Ron Kelly from the Department of Mines and Energy will provide a presentation on the government’s policy and environmental regulations.
Additionally Mr Bob Richards will provide a presentation on the growth of the enormously successful Humpty Doo Barramundi Farm and what the future of Aquaculture looks like for Northern Australia. This is a topic of interest to many AFANT members due to its potential to play an important role in food production, generate economic development in the Northern Territory and reduce commercial fishing pressure on wild fish stocks.
“These are just some of the significant topics to be addressed at the AGM to ensure AFANT remains steadfast in our commitment to represent recreational fishing in the NT and ensure the quality of our sport” AFANT President Warren de With said.
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 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/
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 welcomed the governments proposed measures for funding action to address legacy mines.
“The mining industry has to take responsibility and pay their way for past environmental mistakes.” AFANT president Warren de With said today.
“The Northern Territory community has been left with too many serious legacy mine sites that are pumping toxic waste into our waterways.”
“The NT Government has a major environmental and financial challenge to fund and conduct the rehabilitation and clean-up of a number of legacy mine sites. These environmental disasters have been created through past practices with insufficient procedures and almost non-existent rehabilitation bonds.”
“Unfortunately some of the worst examples of legacy mines in the Northern Territory are relatively recent projects.”
“It’s time the mining industry acknowledged that as an industry they have to take some of the responsibility and ownership to ensure that the past mining disasters are properly fixed and rehabilitated to ensure that the industry continues to have a social licence to operate.”
“The billion dollar cost of fixing up the environmental damage of legacy mines like Red Bank, Rum Jungle and Mt Todd should not be the responsibility of the taxpayer.”
“The levy for past legacy mines and a 100% rehabilitation bond is the best way to ensure that companies provide sufficient funds to ensure the industry’s rehabilitation obligations.”
“AFANT believes that this is a justifiable and small cost for the mining industry to ensure sufficient funds are provided to manage and fix legacy mine sites.” Mr de With said.
AFANT objects to an application for a further large water allocation of 9,180 ML from the Tindall limestone aquifer
The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc. (AFANT) is extremely concerned with the lack of clear planning and apparent free for all water allocation process from the Mataranka -Tindall limestone aquifer.
“In a formal objection lodged with the NT Government Water Controller this week the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT Inc. (AFANT) has opposed the 9,180 ML application for a water extraction licence due to real concerns with the governments abandoning of the required water planning and allocation process and the high likelihood of significant environmental impact on the Roper River” AFANT president Warren de With said today.
“AFANT is extremely concerned with the government’s failure to follow the nationally agreed best practice in water planning in the allocation of water from the Mataranka – Tindall limestone aquifer.”
“The Northern Territory Government signed up to John Howard’s national water reforms and committed to implement and follow best practice in water planning and management. Clearly the current lack of process is in breach of those commitments.”
“We are also strongly of the view based on the evidence provided in the Mataranka – Tindall limestone aquifer draft water allocation plan and supporting documents, that there is significant risk to the Roper River from increased development and the approval of large volume water allocations without a formal planning process.”
“AFANT has real concerns with the cumulative impact of this and past allocations of water extraction licences on the rivers relying on the Mataranka -Tindall aquifer; particularly the Roper River system which is entirely reliant on the aquifer for dry season flows.”
“AFANT has called for a halt to any further large volume water allocations until the completion of an approved water plan as required under the Northern Territory Governments commitment to the national water reforms on water planning and the Water Act.” Mr de With said.
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