Anglers bag fishing plan

A PUSH to create a network of recreational fishing havens along the NSW coast at the expense of commercial fishing has been dismissed as unnecessary and "poor policy".

Sydney-based bait and tackle shop operators and anglers have rallied against a radical push for more recreational fishing havens, claiming they're unnecessary and very poor policy.

Ahmed Haider from Flick 'n' Fish in Sydney said recreational fishing business relied on commercial fishing.

"Under the proposed recreational fishing haven strategy I can't imagine our small business surviving," he said.

"Who are these self-proclaimed recreational fishing lobbyists who say they represent our sector? Why are we never consulted as recreational fishers and businesses?"

Mr Haider's views echo those of Clarence River Fishermen's Co-operative general manager Danielle Adams.

Ms Adams said the aggressive strategies of groups like the Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) and the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), which claimed commercial fishing ruined fish stocks, had no scientific backing.

Ms Adams said commercial fishers have developed a viable fishing industry in the region through careful monitoring of their catches over the years.

"We have detailed statistics of the catch for each year, which we have been able to maintain year in year out," she said.

"Our fishers recognise the necessity of their industry maintaining its viability."

Recreational fishers like Mitchell Burge said recreational fishing clubs with records dating back more than 40 years have revealed that fishing stocks in some areas have begun to improve.

Australian Marine Alliance CEO Dane Van Der Neut said he was baffled by why some in the recreational fishing sector continue to push a narrow form of resource-sharing policy.

"Why can't we work together?" Mr Van Der Neut said.

"And why do the likes of AFTA and ARFF not accept that according to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 87.5% of Australia's fish stocks are deemed sustainable?

"Let me make one very important point; the strategy employed will ultimately damage recreational fishermen. Why? We know that on key species the recreational take is, in many instances, up to seven times larger than that total catch taken by cottage-based commercial fishermen."

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