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AFTA unites with anglers to fight marine park lock-outs

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AFTA Deputy Chairman, Damian Reeves, and Managing Director of Rapala Australia, attended a meeting with Fisheries Minister, Niall Blair, to protest about proposed lock-outs from 25 Sydney Marine Park locations.

The fishing tackle industry in Australia was represented at a top level meeting with Fisheries Minister, Niall Blair, on Monday, and delivered a clear ‘no lock-outs’ in Sydney Marine Park message to the New South Wales (NSW) Government.

Fishing World has reported that Damian Kerves, Deputy Chairman of the Australian Fishing Tackle Association (AFTA) and Chair of NSW branch of the trade organisation, presented a united response alongside recreational anglers, the boat industry and media to the proposal to ban angling in 25 locations.

The Rapala Australia Managing Director told the meeting: “The Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA) has failed to give well-deserved recognition to recreational anglers for the investment in their fishing future, both on the water and on the land.

“Recreational Fishing Trusts, funded by anglers’ fishing licences, have poured millions of dollars into Habitat Action Grants, tagging research, the citizen-science Research Angler Programme, surveys, education and awareness initiatives and the ‘Get Hooked’ programmme for schools in NSW.

“This equates to over $250 million invested in recreational fishing since the NSW licence was introduced. All that money has been made for better management of our state’s fishery – the public cannot be locked out of that fishery.”

After the meeting, Stan Konstantaras, President of the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW, said that the huge public response to the lock-outs had raised numerous concerns, including not just preservation of public fishing rights, but also the economic effect on the NSW fishing tackle and boating industries, the loss of disabled access and concerns that boating and rock fishing safety will be compromised.

“We emphasised to the Minister that recreational fishing cannot be defined by lines on a map – there are no fences underwater – but that anglers are willing to work with cooperative management and regulation. Lines on a map are not constructive fisheries management tools.

“There needs to be protection of the marine environment around Sydney by effective monitoring, enforcement of regulations and penalties for pollution and habitat destruction.

“Recreational fishing poses no threat compared to other processes, such as urban run-off, foreshore development and sewage outfalls.”

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