REPRESENTATION FOR RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL FISHERS

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Government will establish a new body for recreational fishers, including representatives of Recfish SA, Recfish Central, the SA Fishing Alliance and any other relevant group, and re-establish the Fisheries Council as a policy forum for the recreational and commercial fishing sectors.

THE PROBLEM

South Australia has 277,000 recreational fishers.

They include individuals, small businesses, charter operators and participants in the tourism industry who operate in marine waters hosting some of the most sought after premium seafood in the world.

Our fishing industry, recreational and commercial, provides significant social and economic benefits.

The Weatherill Government recognises South Australian Recreational Fishing Advisory Council Incorporated (RecFish SA) as the peak body for recreational fishing.

However, other organisations have emerged, such as the South Australian Fishing Alliance (SAFA), FishinSA and RecFishCentral which do not recognise RecFish SA as the peak body.

The State’s recreational fishing sector is now very divided and disjointed.

As an association incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1985, RecFish has about 1000 members. Its main role is to advise the State Government on recreational fishing issues and advocate on behalf of all recreational fishers. This representative role has been under question since RecFish supported the Government’s marine parks legislation even though it was opposed by the majority of recreational fishers.

RecFish SA receives an annual grant of $120,000 from Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA).

As well as division within the recreational fishing sector, there is also a perceived split between the interests of commercial and recreational fishers when both parties would benefit from common approaches to issues such as fishery sustainability and habitat improvements.

In 2015, the Fisheries Council was abolished. The membership of the Council comprised experts in commercial and recreational fishing, research and development, conservation, business and other disciplines nominated by bodies representing the seafood industry.

THE STATE LIBERALS' PLAN

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Government will:

  • Establish a new body for recreational fishers, including representatives of Recfish SA, Recfish Central, the SA Fishing Alliance and any other relevant group.
  • Re-establish the Fisheries Council as a policy forum for the recreational and commercial fishing sectors.

To establish the new representative body for recreational fishers, we will invite any person wishing to be a member of the body to make application to PIRSA detailing qualifications and interests in recreational fishing.

After assessment by PIRSA applicants will enter a ballot to become members of the new industry representative body.

The body will work in partnership with PIRSA to manage and promote recreational fishing.

It will receive administrative support from PIRSA but be able to act independently of the South Australian Government.

In consultation with the new representative body for recreational fishers and commercial fishing bodies, a Marshall Liberal Government will re-establish the Fisheries Council under the Fisheries Management Act. With this legislative backing, the Council will act as a policy forum to develop management plans that support the interests of the recreational and commercial sectors and ensure the sustainability of our fisheries.

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