Home' Afloat : AFLOAT November 2014 Contents 50 AFLOAT.com.au November 2014
with David Lockwood
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SYDNEY FISHING HAVEN
NOT MARINE PARK
Let’s not lend any more credence to
NSW Labor’s announcement it would
declare Sydney a marine park if elected
next March. After all, every fishing body,
the Boating Industry of NSW and other
marine groups have derided the dumb
political position intended to win-over
green votes instead of back science.
We all fish and boat by a raft of rules
and regulations in NSW that are designed
to ensure we do so sustainably. Anything
else is ideology, a grab for votes and
access, if not a way to bolster businesses
of a different kind.
On the bright side, support is growing
to declare Sydney Harbour a Recreational
Fishing Haven. This makes dollars and
sense given the popularity of wetting a
line in our iconic waterway and the fact
commercial fishing no longer exists there.
Lobby group Sydney Harbour
Recreational Fishing Haven is backed
by keen local anglers, fishing guides and
recreational-fishing representatives. The
group is mapping the harbour, collating all
the existing regulations (there are many)
in preparation for its detailed submission.
Given there are already some 30
Recreation Fishing Havens in NSW, draft
documentation surely exists to enact
the legislation. The existing NSW fishing
havens extend from the Tweed in the north
to Wonboyn in the far south.
These havens were created by
compensating commercial fishers to the
tune of $20 million using the recreational-
fishing-licence trust. But no buyout
is needed for Sydney Harbour, as a
recreational fishing haven already exists
there by default.
Commercial fishing has ceased to exist
in the harbour since 2006. With dioxins,
heavy metals and plastic contaminants
so rife in the sediments, one assumes the
health advice and status quo is unlikely
to change any decade soon. Testing isn’t
cheap to monitor this stuff.
Furthermore, the value of recreational
fishing in Sydney Harbour outstrips any
past commercial catch and dive dollars
from the bubblehead sector. So by all
measures it’s time to recognise and
promote Sydney’s world-class angling as
we know it today.
Since commercial fishers pulled
their nets and traps for the last time, the
amateur catches have been out of this
world. As a haven, the wider community
would benefit from fishing volunteers
assisting with education, policing and
Promoting sustainable and ethical
fishing practices would be the goal. There
could be open and school fishing days.
An angling institution on the foreshores
of Sydney Harbour would make a great
HQ. Other countries embrace angling this
way. Fishing has been proven to be good
for your mental state.
It’s time Sydney opened its eyes and
mind to the idea of a Recreational Fishing
Haven, not a preclusive un-Australian
marine park pushed by Greens, divers
and, it seems, some local marine-science
DESERVES MORE INK
Cutting across all cultures, creeds,
classes, age groups and sexes, fishing
unites us with that one common goal.
But it’s against this broadly philosophical
backdrop that we struggle to be taken
For as long as I have been championing
the plight of the happy-go-lucky angler,
there’s been a reticence to view us as
anything more than a rabble. That we are
a broad group without any real unity adds
to the perception.
Certainly, fishing sure has a long way
to go in Australia to gain recognition as
a serious sport. Take the amazing feat
of Aussie angler Carl Jocubsen, 29, from
Toowoomba, who recently qualified as
the first Australian ever in the Bassmaster
Elite Series in the USA.
Jocubsen beat the American fishers
at their own game. There’s a great story
about his amazing sporting feat at www.
australian-qualify-elites #. You won’t find
much press about him back home.
In fact, ESPN Australia signalled it will
discontinue televising The Bassmasters TV
series. A petition was reportedly doing the
rounds. In America, fishing is big bucks,
a huge industry, a big media hook, and
taken very seriously.
Here, recreational fishing and boating
struggle for ink in the surviving, struggling
media institutions of today. Yet there are
as many as five million fishers in Australia
and one million in NSW. And 75-85 per
cent of all boat buyers cite fishing as
their reason to get afloat. We need greater
representation and say. h
Clarification NSW bag and
In respect of the new fishing regulations
in NSW effective November 3, NSW DPI
The bag limit for a number of species will
be reduced from 20 to 10 per person per
These species include:
• all Flathead species*
(other than Dusky Flathead)
• Bream and Tarwhine*
• Blue Swimmer Crab
* Bag limit comprised of any single
species or a combination of listed grouped
species. Note: the bag limit for Dusky
Flathead (10) remains.
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