2019 NSW State Election
The Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW (RFA) is the trusted voice of recreational fishing in NSW and has launched an 8-point plan called the 8 R’s in the lead up to the NSW state election on 23 March 2019.
The plan puts the fish first and foremost, and outlines how recreational anglers intend to save and preserve the environment we fish in, retain and maintain fishing access, limit the threats to recreational and commercial fishing and guarantee the future of fishing in NSW.
The RFA calls on all State political parties to immediately commit to the following:
- Immediately place a moratorium on the creation of any more Marine Parks in NSW, especially in the Sydney and Twofold Bay Bioregions, until the Marine Estate Management Authority is disbanded and a new way is forged to manage recreational fishing across NSW in a way that is transparent and balanced.
- Commit to immediately reviewing all existing NSW Marine Park closures to ensure sound environmental outcomes are actually delivered, and consult with the local communities and other stakeholders to open up any closed areas to recreational fishing.
- Secure $24 million dollars in funding to fairly support the buy-out of the Southern Fish Trawl, to create a fish-trawl-free area from Sydney to Eden, from the beaches and headlands out to 3 nm (5.5 km).
- Conduct independent reviews of the way fishing and boating licence fees are collected and expended across NSW, ensuring transparency, accountability and value for money.
- Restore the government’s contribution to the management of recreational fishing and boating (adjusted to today’s dollars) to that agreed in 2001 when the general fishing licence fee was introduced.
- Review the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016.
- Declare Sydney Harbour a Recreational Fishing Haven, investing to improve recreational fishing and boating facilities, infrastructure, opportunities, services and environmental quality across the entire waterway.
The RFA will continue to hold discussions with all political parties in the lead up to the 23 March state election to ensure the needs and aspirations of recreational fishers are strongly represented. The RFA is calling on all parties to support, promote and action the 8 R’s in their fisheries and boating election commitments as follows:
Amend the Fisheries Management Act 1994 to explicitly recognise the right to fish recreationally and provide in legislation for compensatable fishing rights for recreational fishers including the loss of access in any Recreational Fishing Haven or similar area.
- Amend the Marine Estate Management Act 2014 to explicitly recognise and reinstate the right to fish recreationally, as under the previous Marine Parks Act 1997.
- Support the formation of a dedicated Recreational Fishing Representative Body that is funded from the Recreational Fishing Trusts to provide for adequate operating costs for an initial minimum period of 5 years.
- The Recreational Fishing Representative Body should be constituted to provide advocacy on behalf of all fee and non-fee-paying recreational fishers and to be able to deliver services and functions currently provided by government and others (excluding compliance and enforcement)—these capabilities to be phased in as its capacities are demonstrated.
- The Recreational Fishing Peak Body will be empowered to promote the involvement of recreational fishers in research and monitoring projects.
- The government contribution to the management of recreational fishing should be restored (adjusted to today’s dollars) to that agreed in 2001 when the general fishing licence was introduced.
- The Office of Sport in NSW should officially recognise recreational fishing as an activity or sport.
- Support the establishment of a fishing and diving museum to safeguard the history of the sport.
Partner with recreational fishers to REVIEW issues like the recreational fishing access fee and redefine the way funds are spent, driving a new direction for recreational fishing in NSW and restructuring the way the NSW Government consults with fishers.
One of the most infuriating issues since 2001 has been the cost shifting of core government responsibilities onto the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts. Acceptance of the recreational fishing licence by anglers was predicated on the agreement that the government would maintain its level of service to recreational fishing. Cost shifting must stop, and the Trust Funds must revert to funding enhancements to recreational fishing, as was originally intended.
- Cost shifting from the Department to the Trust Funds must cease, including funding for compliance and law enforcement, fisheries conservation, stock assessment and other basic research required to manage jointly fished stocks.
- An independent body, such as IPART, should be commissioned to determine the government’s community service obligations to recreational fishing.
- The cost of running all hatcheries including the Gaden Trout Hatchery be sourced from Consolidated Revenue.
- The regulations governing recreational fishing should be reviewed and simplified to provide easily remembered rules appropriate for casual fishers.
- Review all senior fishery management staff to ensure appropriate tertiary qualifications and fisheries management experience at a senior level.
- The Rockfishing Safety Act 2016 must be reviewed and amended to explicitly recognise other forms of rock fishing safety attire.
Partner with recreational fishers to REVITALISE recreational fishing and boating in in NSW, to make NSW a premier recreational fishing destination and promote the health and wellbeing benefits of fishing for communities and families.
- Respond to the need to promote NSW as a premier tourist destination through the establishment of fishing trails in the salt and freshwater.
- Partner with Destination NSW to enhanced fishing tourism by interstate and overseas visitors through targeted advertising campaigns.
- Value adding to licences must be investigated as a priority by the Department, to move from impost to a valued commodity.
- Increase efficiencies in licence sales and distribution to deliver more revenue for enhancement projects.
- Better promote the contribution to improved fisheries and conservation of biodiversity achieved through fishing licence expenditure.
- Promote to state and local government, tourism bodies and stakeholder groups the contribution to rural and coastal economies from recreational fishing.
- Immediately investigate the option for infringement notices for non-compliance with the fishing fee to be replaced with a requirement to buy a licence (e.g. three years) as an appropriate penalty, plus an associated administration fee.
- Initiate an opt-in renewal subscription, to provide automatic renewal of 1- and 3-year recreational fishing fee receipts upon expiry.
- Recognition of the social, health and family cohesion benefits of fishing be better documented and promoted.
- Investigate a voluntary recreational fisher registration system operated through tackle shops and boating and marine suppliers for non-fee-paying fishers.
- 100% return of recreational boating registration and licence fees to a trust account to build, maintain and improve NSW recreational boating infrastructure.
- Implement a dredging plan to keep boat ramps and river entrances clear of obstructions, and remove red tape to make the process more efficient.
- Support local councils to enhance facilities like jetties, boat ramps and fishing platforms.
- Repeal the Impounding Amendment (Unattended Boat Trailer) Act 2015 that requires boat owners who legally park their boats on their streets to move them every 28 days.
- Support funding for the dignified retirement of excess fishing effort.
- Negotiate for the removal of inefficient or unsustainable fishing methods, with fair compensation.
- Work with the commercial fishing industry to optimise the social and community benefits derived from sustainable fishing in every area of the state.
- Contribute to funding the reallocation of resources and access between all fishing sectors with fair compensation.
- Work with commercial fishers to better promote the health and wellbeing benefits of eating fresh fish.
- Ensure our state waterways are better serviced by boat ramps, jetties, fishing platforms and—in conjunction with local councils—respond to the need for development of off-street permanent storage facilities for boats/boat trailers in high-density residential areas.
- Immediately stop any further closures to any jetty, fishing platform, beach, rock platform or shore-based access point in both fresh and saltwater unless reasonable alternatives are negotiated, including vehicular access.
- Immediately open safe public fishing access points in areas like Crown reserves, National Parks, Marine Parks and utilising the remaining Crown roads network.
- Respond to the need to maintain fishing recreational access rights to our current Recreational Fishing Havens and improve recreational fishing access to the Hunter, Macleay, Pittwater and Shoalhaven Rivers.
- Immediately establish an independent arbitrator to rule on the hundreds of contentious access conflicts that are present between recreation anglers and land owners laying claim to legal access in the inland and that are denying legitimate access to our waterways like Talmalmo and Howlong on the Murray.
- Immediately fund the survey of roads and tracks to public fishing waterways obstructed by illegal and privately controlled barriers on freehold and leased lands, i.e. locked gates and misleading signage.
- Respond to the need to protect, regenerate and enhance natural fish habitat to support diverse healthy fisheries and fish populations; where appropriate enhance habitat and protect forage and baitfish stocks as part of the critical food web in the salt and freshwater.
- Invest $100 million annually into a habitat fund for on-ground fish habitat action benefiting our marine, estuarine and freshwater fisheries, including: living shellfish reefs, riparian vegetation, in-stream habitat, water quality improvements, fish passage barrier removal, fish screens and pumps.
- Invest $100 million to follow a US-style model to provide for 100 new inshore artificial reefs to be installed over 20 years to enhance habitat and build resilience throughout our inshore waters.
- Build capacity of our recreational fishing sector to lead and participate in fish habitat activities.
- Develop an easily-accessible on-water or foreshore designed ‘Fish Out’ facility model that could readily be implemented and offer enhanced and highly successful fishing opportunities in places like Lake Macquarie, the Hawkesbury River, Botany Bay, Lake Illawarra or any other location across NSW.
- Support the research to help understand the various existing coastal estuarine food web species like prawns and shellfish with the view to enhancing hand-gathering opportunities.
- Support the stocking of Eastern King Prawns and Leader Prawns in ICOLS and Recreational Fishing Havens.
- Support the study and development of intertidal shellfish breeding and stocking to support a controlled hand-gathering fishery for cockles, whelks, sea snails and other shellfish for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities.
- Develop and assist small fishing businesses to provide alternative recreational fresh and frozen bait fishery resources around important bait types like green weed, farmed disease-free prawns, yabbies, blood worms, etc.
- Develop a recreational fishery citizen science research program.
- Support the expansion of the ‘Tuna Champions’ program throughout NSW for Southern Bluefin Tuna.
- Immediately shut the Southern Fish Trawl down and provide fair compensation to the 22 affected commercial operators who are seeking $24 million dollars to fund a dignified exit from the industry, stopping inshore trawling between Sydney and Eden within 3nm of the NSW coast.
- Stop the proposed Cruise Ship Terminal in Botany Bay.
- All size limits, including slot limits, must apply equally to commercial and recreational fishers.
- Temporary area closures should be implemented to protect all spawning aggregations of fish from all forms of fishing.
- Immediately start the testing of important recreational and commercial fish species around sewage outfalls. This risk has been overlooked for many years and continues to be of concern with regards to the health of fish stocks for both human consumption and sustainability reasons.
Recreational fishers are welcome to let us know their thoughts on these points by emailing comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org