The peak national body for recreational fishers, Recfish Australia in June, appointed Len Olyott as their new Executive Officer.
Recfish Australia Chair and Acting CEO Bruce Schumacher said that Len would be a welcome addition to the team bringing with him extensive knowledge and experience of recreational fisheries management. 'Len has worked for the Queensland Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries for the past six years and has a good understanding of fisheries management processes and the challenges facing recreational fishing in Australia.'
A third generation recreational angler, Len’s passion for fish and fishing led him to pursue a career in fisheries science. He graduated from the prestigious Rhodes University with a Masters in Fisheries Science. Len has been a founder member of several flyfishing clubs as well as a fisheries consultant to various fishing clubs and organisations both within Australia and internationally. An accomplished author of numerous book chapters on recreational fishing and articles in Australian and South African
magazines, Len also has a solid scientific publication record.
Len believes that his understanding of the bureaucratic process will be vital in cementing the relationship between recreational fishers and the federal government. 'The experience and knowledge that I gained from my time with DPI&F means that I know what drives government policy. I also am first and foremost a recreational angler and I know what motivates me. At the end
of the day, I just want to go fishing and know that there will be fish for my kids to catch tomorrow.'
Len’s first order of business will be to meet the peak state and national recreational fishing bodies to find out what their major concerns are and how Recfish Australia can help with these; 'Recfish Australia is determined to be the peak representative body at a national level but to do this, we need
the support of all state peak bodies. They are the ones that know best what is going on in their own backyard and they can greatly support us in achieving our national objectives.'
Meetings with the federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts are also high on his agenda; 'I would like to introduce myself to them and find out where Recfish Australia can assist them in meeting legislative and policy objectives.'
Len feels that although there are a lot of challenges still facing recreational fishing, some of the recent initiatives that Recfish Australia has been involved with means that many fisheries are in a more secure state than ever before; 'Having longtail tuna declared a recreational only species is a major win for recreational fishers. The assessment process that fisheries have to go through to prove their sustainability has resulted in better management in both Commonwealth and State waters. The development of a fishing competition accreditation system will mean that competitions can be scored based on their ability to minimise environmental impact. All of these things are very positive for recreational fishing but there is still a lot of work to do and I am looking forward to the challenge.'
Further information on Recfish Australia Click here