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Australian tackle trade leader welcomes net-free zones

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AFTA Chief Executive Allan Hansard: Has welcomed the introduction of net-free zones in Queensland.

The introduction of net-free zones in Queensland, Australia, has been applauded by the country’s recreational fishing community.

The decision by the Queensland Government to implement the three zones is further evidence of ‘a significant change in the way some governments view and recognise recreational fishing’, said the Chief Executive of the Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA), Allan Hansard.

“It’s an example of governments valuing the significant economic, social and environmental benefits that can be derived from recreational fishing,” Hansard told Angling International. “This is good news for recreational fishers in Queensland and other states.”

The Queensland Government’s decision to honour its election promise was taken in the face of a powerful commercial fishing lobby against the net-free zones, which included representation at the highest level of government.

“Thanks to AFTA, ANSA (Australian National Sportfishing Association) and Keep Australia Fishing we were able to hold the government to its promise,” added Hansard.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne revealed that feedback from 6,300 public submissions had been received during a consultation process and that 90% were in favour of introducing net-free zones.

“The zones offer benefits in tourism and recreational fishing and I am excited by the opportunities they will have directly for the communities along the boundaries,” he said. “I am proud to be leading the reform of fisheries management that has been talked about for years but never progressed.”

Despite the commercial fishing industry’s concern over the fisheries reform agenda, and in particular the introduction of net-free zones, Byrne said his government was committed to seeing through its election commitment.

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