One of the state’s leading recreational fishing lobby groups has applauded plans by the Liberal Party to immediately dissolve RecfishSA if it wins government next March.
Convenor of RecfishCENTRAL, Les Rochester says the move to dissolve the peak body is long overdue as it backed the introduction of Marine Parks and agreed with the changes to bag and boat limits, against the wishes of recreational fishers.
“RecfishCENTRAL along with the South Australian Fishing Alliance and FishingSA have been strongly lobbying for a new Fisheries Council to better represent recreational fishers at the highest level,” Mr Rochester said.
“What the peak body has done over the past 4 years by backing these policies is to rip the heart out of regional coastal communities.
“There’s been a significant impact at caravan parks and businesses right through Yorke Peninsula, the West Coast, South East and Kangaroo Island.
“These communities that rely on the money spent by recreational fishers have seen businesses put up for sale as fishers no longer go there because of the reduced bag limits, marine parks and seasonal closures.”
“The new council will demand much more accountability and transparency from PIRSA Fisheries and the Commercial fishing sector to undo the harm their decisions have caused to regional communities.
“I’m looking forward to sitting down on behalf of the 2000 RecfishCENTRAL members and having serious dialogue with the commercial fishing sector over longlining and netting in our gulfs as a solution can be found.
“It’s time for a recreational fishing body that is properly representative of the views of recreational fishers and not a puppet of the government or PIRSA.”
Upper SE Rec Fishers Association secretary Phil Mann said it would be a pity if the group were to be dissolved.
“We find the group very helpful and a great resource,” he said. “We get information from RecfishSA about South East fishing and they have always supported the group.
“Last year the Fisheries Department was talking about fishermen not being allowed to keep whiting that were over 40cm in size.
“A lot of the whiting in the South East is over 40cm and so we started a petition and RecfishSA were helpful giving us publicity. The proposed changes did not go ahead.
“They were helpful in fighting battles and a very good group to work with.
“However I am sure that if the RecfishSA group were to be dissolved another group will turn up in its place.”