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Lucky_Phill
03-03-2012, 12:59 PM
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MEDIA RELEASE 1 March 2012
New National Policy Platform for Recreational Fishing’s Future





The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) today launched a National Policy Platform, outlining the principles the association wishes the Federal Government to use in developing the national marine reserve system. The platform was launched at a Parliamentary Breakfast this morning attended by over 70 recreational fishers, industry representatives, Government officials, Ministers and MPs.

AFTA Chief Executive Allan Hansard said the platform outlines overarching principles for the Federal Government to consider and apply to the proposed marine park planning process.

“The platform requests that the Governments clearly explain what environmental values they wish to protect when considering marine parks proposals, and why they propose to limit or exclude recreational fishing from certain areas.

“This policy platform will provide a solid base for assessing policies that could affect Australia’s 5 million recreational fishers,” Mr Hansard said.

“The platform requests that economic and social impacts be assessed and comprehensive scientific analysis underpins decisions surrounding the creation of marine parks before AFTA will consider supporting them.

“AFTA also reminds governments that fishers are the eyes and ears on our seas. Locking out recreational fishing from marine parks and sanctuary zones is akin to locking out bushwalkers from terrestrial national parks. It should only be done if there is a well-founded scientific reason to do so.

“If this does need to occur then AFTA would seek recreational fishing only zones to offset the exclusion areas.

“With the release of this policy platform, AFTA looks forward to a continued dialogue with governments at the State and Federal levels as well as the ongoing support of the Coalition.”

The Platform follows on page 2 and can be downloaded at www.afta.net.au (http://www.afta.net.au)
ENDS

Media contact: Allan Hansard, Chief Executive Officer
0438 243 994 allanhansard@afta.net.au

About AFTA:

The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) was formed in the early 1980s by independent wholesalers/distributors and manufacturers of fishing tackle and associated products in Australia. AFTA is an Australian trade association dedicating itself to the promotion of public angling and of its members.
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AFTA National Policy Platform
• The Government should clearly state what environmental values it wishes to protect by declaring marine parks or sanctuary zones.

• The Government should clearly state why it wishes to limit or exclude any existing activities in the proposed areas.

• Where it is proposed to exclude recreational fishing from a proposed marine park or sanctuary zone, there should be a scientific analysis of the effects of recreational fishing on the environmental values the Government is aiming to protect.

• This scientific analysis should explore whether adaptive management techniques such as size and bag limits, catch and release and no anchor zones can be adopted to alleviate any adverse effects on environmental values.

• An economic and social impact assessment should also be conducted to assess the economic and social impact of excluding recreational fishing activities from the proposed marine Park or sanctuary zone.

• Where it is scientifically, economically and socially proven that recreational fishing activities should be excluded from a proposed marine park or sanctuary zone then AFTA will actively support that position and promote the formation of the marine park or sanctuary zone.

• Where it is scientifically economically and socially proven that recreational fishing activities should be excluded from a proposed marine park or sanctuary zone then AFTA would like to see the exclusion from this area compensated by the formation of a recreational fishing only zone that holds similar recreational fishing opportunities to the marine park or sanctuary zone exclusion area.
In other words, recreational fishing should only be excluded from a marine park or sanctuary zone where there is sound, comprehensive science to support this outcome.

Any outcome should also consider the cost to the economy and local communities of excluding recreational fishing from the proposed areas.
Locking out recreational fishing from marine parks and sanctuary zones is akin to locking out bushwalkers from terrestrial national parks. It should only be done if there is a well-founded scientific reason to do so.

It should also be remembered that recreational fishers are often the eyes and ears on our seas and oceans. There have been countless examples where it is the recreational fishers that have reported illegal fishing activities or environmental incidents to authorities.


LP