Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Brown wants fishing rules more strictly applied on the Clarence River.
Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Brown wants fishing rules more strictly applied on the Clarence River.

Fair go for fishers, Brown

GREATER enforcement of fishery rules in the Clarence River and increased access to marine parks are just two policies supported by Robert Brown, current NSW Member of the Legislative Council and candidate for the Shooters and Fishers Party in the upcoming election.

The first recommendation of the State Government’s Select Committee on Recreational Fishing, chaired by Mr Brown, was that the government’s Industry and Investment Department “enforce compliance with the rules governing the use of meshing nets, particularly in the Clarence River”.

“Mesh nets are supposed to be thrown and then pulled in – splash and return – but the committee heard they are being left out all night and catching a lot of by-catch like bass and not the target fish,” Mr Brown said.

There were many other examples from around the state where adequate rules were simply not being enforced. Errant fishers, both amateur and professionals, knew they could get away with it.

“We have to get more inspectors where they’re needed, when they’re needed, at night,” he said.

To begin with, Mr Brown wants to see at least six more fisheries officers, two for the rivers and four in offshore waters.

“We heard from fishermen across the state and nine out of 10 said the current laws weren’t being complied with, there aren’t enough fishery officers.”

The issue of fishing access in marine parks was also spoken about.

In a dissenting report, Mr Brown called for greater access to marine parks. It had not yet been established that total fishing bans in marine park sanctuary zones were effective, he said.

It was time to put this theory to the test and allow certain types of fishing, such as catch-and-release and surface fishing, in parts of marine parks.

Over time this area could be compared to full sanctuary zones to see if there were real differences in fish numbers.

“We need test results and to do the science properly.”



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