RecFish SA, the peak body representing recreational fishers in South Australia, announced today that along with other recreational fishing bodies around Australia, it considerers the industry response to a proposal to minimise the impact of the Commonwealth small pelagic fishery on recreational fishers, was not good enough and discussions with the trawl fishers have collapsed.

RecFish SA has worked closely with the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) and its membership, to submit a proposal that addressed many of the concerns Australian recreational fishers have about industrial scale operations in the small pelagic fishery.

The collapse in the talks has occurred because the Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association (SPFIA) has rejected a proposal developed by ARFF and its members, that aimed to protect recreational fishing from impacts of the 95m factory trawler known as the Geelong Star.

“It seems pointless to continue talking with the SPFIA , when it does not seem to be genuine about dealing with the concerns raised by recreational fishers. Their offers in response to the ARFF proposal are unacceptable and are not even close to what we have been seeking in good faith” RecFish SA Spokesperson David Ciaravolo said.

“The proposal put forward through ARFF, sought to work with the vessel managers on where the Geelong Star can fish and it would have affected less than 10 percent of the 3 million square kilometre Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery.

“We are disappointed that despite the constrictive and united approach from the Australian recreational fishing community, the SPFIA have chosen not to take our concerns seriously.

The ARFF proposal also outlined a comprehensive research program to address the lack of economic, social and environmental information on the effect of industrial scale commercial fishing of the small pelagic fishery and also on recreational fishers and the local communities that support them.

“As it stands, the Geelong Star can exploit baitfish stocks at many of SA’s top offshore game fishing locations, because places like Port MacDonnell, Robe, Kangaroo Island and other areas have not received any protection. There is also no agreement to collect information on the impacts this industrial scale fishing could have on recreational fishing opportunities, or on the significant economic value of recreational Tuna fisheries in our regional communities” David Ciaravolo said.

With the breakdown of talks, other avenues to address recreational fishers concerns are being looked to. RecFish SA understand that ARFF has taken the views of it’s members to the Federal Government and that initial contact has resulted in an offer to facilitate a process to address recreational fishers concerns.

The current situation is not good enough and RecFish SA will continue to work to achieve a better outcome for recreational fishers says David Ciaravolo, “We, along with our partners and the ARFF remain 100% committed to pursuing an outcome that protects recreational fishing areas from this industrial fishing activity.

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