Home' Afloat : AFLOAT June 2014 Contents 48 AFLOAT.com.au June 2014
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ANGLERS GENERATE BILLIONS
Think recreational fishing is small fry? Think again. The
latest data to hand has determined the economic output of all
recreational fishing in NSW tallies $3.42 billion, leading to direct
and indirect employment of 14,254 full-time jobs. We’re pretty
big fish to fry.
Furthermore, the report on the angling sector’s financial
worth, as compiled late last year by The Australian National
Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of
Wollongong, found household income from recreational fishing
in NSW amounted to $877.3 million.
Naturally, Sydney had the biggest angling economy, generating
more than $1 billion annually and representing 56 per cent of the
state’s angling expenditure. But relatively speaking, the economic
benefits of angling were greater per head on the NSW South
Coast, North Coast and inland. That underscores the fact that
angling forms a key part of our culture and domestic tourism.
The study confirmed there were some 905,048 anglers in
NSW, with 773,000 over the age of 18. Of these, 65 per cent
held licences while the balance were concession and pension
holders. In other words, recreational fishing cuts across all ages
Overall, NSW anglers fished an average of 14.6 days per year.
The total combined sample showed that 38 per cent of fishers wet
a line less than five days a year, six per cent of anglers fished in
excess of 40 days, and three per cent staged more than 40 trips
per year. There are certainly some avid anglers amid our ranks.
The average angler spent $225.24 on a fishing trip including
car travel, tackle and boat fuel. Annual fishing-related boat
expenditure in NSW averaged $768.15 per angler, with saltwater
anglers spending $956.18 per year and a good deal more than
their freshwater counterparts.
Another recent fishing report, this time by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from the Government
Department of Commerce in America, recreational fishing in
the US generated $58 billion in sales, $19 billion in income,
and supported 381,000 jobs in 2012 in fishing and across the
The methodology used in the abovementioned surveys may
differ, but we can deduce one thing with certainty. Recreational
fishers are an economic force to be reckoned with and when it
comes to resource sharing there’s a lot of value in looking after
GEMFISH IN DEEP WATER
It’s that time
of the year when
the East Australian
Current takes a well-
earned rest, when the
offshore winds flatten the
sea and blow out around midday, allowing opportunistic boaters
to steam east and fish the real abyss.
Of course, you need to play it safe travelling to the deep-water
fishing grounds. That mecca called Browns Mountain is some
40km east of Centrepoint Tower. It’s a long run and downright
ugly and dangerous when the winds pipe-in and prevail.
But with a fair-weather window and well-equipped boat you
can make an adventure rather than misadventure of your sea-
mountain trip. Finesse has nothing to do with wetting a line out
here, it’s all about plumbing the depths for delicious table fish
any way you can.
Akin to a lucky dip, the prized catch might be a blue-eye
trevalla, hapuka or a bass groper. That’s if you can get past the
impressive jaws of the wolf-like gemfish.
You are only allowed to keep two ‘gemmies’ and no more
than 10 per boat including charter operators. This might seem
rather harsh, but apparently all is not what it seems in the depths.
The NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee (FSC) has made
a proposed determination to list the Eastern gemfish (Rexea
solandri) in the Threatened Species Schedules of the Fisheries
Management Act 1994.
Long a favourite for fish and chips, the gemfish is facing a
high risk of extinction in NSW in the medium-term. Commercial
overfishing and the existing catch management strategies have
failed to address declining stocks.
Recruitment of Eastern gemfish has been very weak over the
past 25 years and those that are caught are too often juveniles
or immature fish that haven’t spawned.
According to the Atlantis models, which take a whole of
ecosystem approach includes fishing and climate parameters,
there is a risk that the Eastern gemfish will be extinct by 2040.
Once listed as a threatened species, fishing bans may well
follow. Who knows, they might even move to protect the fish’s
habitat at certain times of the year. Gemfish certainly don’t
survive being hauled from depths of 200 metres. So enjoy your
two fish bag limit while you can.
Have your say on the proposed gemfish status ruling.
Submissions must be received before 6:00pm on Friday 13
June 2014. More at http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/species-
Gemfish – Rexea solandri.
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