SUBJECT/S: Labor will provide $110,000 for the National Recreational Fishers Council

JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY, SHADOW MINISTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS: G’day I’m in Toronto with Allan Hansard. Allan is the CEO of the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation and I’ve just announced that a future Shorten Labor Government will provide the necessary funding, $110,000 to establish a Recreational Fishers Council.  Now this will be a group chaired by me as the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and will give our fishers a seat at the decision making table. Too often we make decisions about Marine Parks for example, super trawlers, all sorts of decisions without the rec fishers leadership at the decision making table.  We want to make sure that when a Labor Government is making decisions, that they are always in the interests of our 5 million Australian recreational fishers – the same fishers who are injecting enormous amounts of m oney into regional economies, including like those here at Toronto. so well done Allan, you were very persuasive and I’m very pleased to be making the announcement today.

ALLAN HANSARD, CEO OF THE NATIONAL RECREATIONAL FISHING FOUNDATION: Well, thank you Joel.  I’d like to say a few words.  I don’t know what I can say because I think you summed it up very nicely there and we’re very pleased that the Labor Government has recognised the benefits of recreational fishing and the benefits that recreational fishing can bring to local communities like this one here, Joel.  It’s worth a lot of money, it’s not only a great thing to do, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for the health and so good for the environment out there as well.  So we are very pleased that you’ve recognised its benefits and as you’ve said, very importantly you’ll give us a seat at that decision making table in relation to fisheries management issues, very important to recreational fishers.

FITZGIBBON: Thanks mate. Allan and I were recently at Bateman’s Bay where there’s concern about the Geelong Star, the super trawler, and what I learned there is that even if you can demonstrate that the super trawler in pelagic fisheries isn’t affecting the environment or the fish stocks, there is a perception Allan.  So people coming out of Sydney, for example, thinking about Bateman’s Bay or Port Stephens locally here, are saying to themselves well hang on, I’m not going to Bateman’s Bay because the super trawlers down there and there’ll be no fish. So we need also to deal with perception, so these government decisions need to be always the right ones for our rec fishers.  That’s why we’ve said we can’t see any role for super trawlers in our fisheries in these regional areas where our recreational fishing is so important to our local economies.  So we’ll keep that fight up, eh?

HANSARD: And I think that’s a great point to make Joel.  It’s very important to get the biology of the fish stocks right.  But it’s also very important to remember that we have local communities and businesses, recreational fishers all reliant on those stocks out there and they are affected, as well as the fish stocks, in relation to these decisions. We want to take all of those aspects into account when we make those decisions, Joel.

FITZGIBBON: So should we go wet a line?

HANSARD: Let’s go.


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