A detailed report titled 'Keep Australia Fishing’ has been released today, recommending a national campaign to challenge the many threats facing Australia’s most popular recreational pursuit.
Fishing is Australia’s number one leisure pursuit.
‘Keep Australia Fishing’, the independent report was commissioned by the Boating and Fishing Council of
Australia (BFCA) and prepared by former UK politician and Sydney resident Martin Salter.
Mr Salter, who served as Parliamentary Spokesman for Angling under the governments of both Tony Blair and
Gordon Brown, said the 54-page report drew on 'best practice' from other countries around the world where
recreational fishing was properly respected and valued as a significant economic contributor.
Keep Australia Fishing
'Australia’s recreational fishing industry has been under threat for many years, from fish kills on major rivers,
habitat degradation, urban pollution and unjustified marine park lock-outs,' Mr Salter said.
'While Australia still boasts some of the best recreational fishing in the world, pressure is mounting from poor land
use practices and extreme Green movements that regard anglers as part of the problem rather than the solution.
'Responsible recreational anglers are the true guardians of the aquatic environment and sensible conservationists
should be working with them to protect and enhance our fisheries.'
Some of the report’s key recommendations include:
• The Keep Australia Fishing Campaign – an independent body led by the tackle and boating industries to
lobby on behalf of recreational fishing, to promote the sport among young people and to effectively
challenge actions and practices that are harmful to fishing and fisheries; (note 1)
• A new mass membership national peak body – recreational fishing licence (RFL) holders to be members of
a new peak advocacy body with full voting rights as in Holland and New Zealand; (note 2)
• Independent Recreational Fishery Trust Funds – funded through state RFL revenues and controlled by
anglers, free from political patronage;
• Tougher rules on pollution and habitat degradation – a complete overhaul of allowable chemical discharges
into watercourses and possible civil action against polluters;
• Ending unwarranted lock-outs of recreational anglers from marine parks – building community support for
proper science-based conservation measures;
• Regular surveys on economic benefit – there is an estimated three million recreational anglers in Australia
and potential economic benefit of up to $10 billion annually, although accurate figures are needed;
• Policy development through an Australian Charter for Angling – the emergence of minority parties
representing anglers only highlights the failure of too many politicians to take anglers concerns seriously.
Other key points from the report: (note 3)
• Closing inshore reefs and waters in metropolitan areas to commercial fishing so these popular and
pressured areas get to become recreational-only fisheries;
• Recreational only status for marlin and other designated sport fish species;
• Restrictions on beach netting and targeting of spawning aggregations;
• Statutory duty on public bodies to promote recreational fishing;
• Opening up of water supply dams to anglers;
• Updated fisheries and environmental legislation.
A copy of the Keep Australia Fishing report is available for download from www.lovefishing.com.au and