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August 29, 2012

Nomad Sportfishing: Help Keep Australia Open to Recreational Fishing

Recreational fishing crisis in Australia - Tell the Government "Dont Lock Us Out"

Your immediate support, and just one minute of your time, is AGAIN required to help save your recreational fishing rights in Australia. We are in the midst of a nationwide crisis for recreational fishermen, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Every recreational fisherman, in every state of Australia, is now being targetted. The Government policy seems to be one of locking recreational fishermen out of huge areas while welcoming foriegn owned super trawlers? Hard to understand! Your chance to “say no” to the governments nationwide Marine Reserve Closures finishes on September 10th 2012, so right now is the time to act!

You can make a difference in under 60 seconds...

Click Here to lodge your official submission

I apologise for making fishing political for you, but there are times when you just have to stand up and be counted, as the alternative is to sit back and watch many of the areas you love to fish get closed over the next few months and years. You sent a letter to the environment minister a month ago, and this made a huge difference, as you can read below, but the time has come to send in your official submission for the last phase of the MPA zoning process public consultation period, and to tell the Government "Don't lock us out". This is now a national issue affecting every part of Australia, including the Coral Sea.

Share the link to the submission page on your Facebook page. Anyone who cares about recreational fishing needs to do this. It is that serious!

 The Full Story - The last letter we asked you to send was a huge success, achieving a great deal, including a statement of support last week from the federal opposition minister Tony Abbott, and you can read below what was achieved as a result of this, but the job is not done yet. If you value recreational fishing in Australia, you need to click the link above and send your own submission, please also be sure to add just a few words of your own comments as well, but please be civilised, as you will be making an official government submission on this link. Please also to remember to share this link on your facebook pages, and get everyone else you know to take action.

 Some background info - the above link will take you to the Keep Australia Fishing website, which is the national voice for all recreational anglers in Australia. Every recreational fishing group in Australia (Sunfish,AFTA, Recfish, ANSA, GFAA and every other state organisation) is 100% behind this campaign, and the letter you will be submitting is going to the Federal Environment Department as part of the final round of the three year submission process.

I’ve been in Canberra recently, and been to meetings with the federal environment minister, Tony Burke, and had a significant involvement in this process so far. The previous letter that everyone sent to the minister, through the Nomad Sportfishing website, made this meeting possible, and made the government realise that this is a serious issue for recreational anglers. 

All we want to achieve here is to ensure that our marine reserves are implemented with thorough scientific planning, scientific principles and practical outcomes that work for all user groups. All recreational fishing groups support closed off areas, but only when thorough scientific processes have shown that these closed off areas are required. The current process is closing off huge areas to recreational fishermen simply so the government can keep green groups happy and stay in power. 

The massive problem that we face here is that Science has long ago been abandoned by the politicians, and they are now playing a game of drawing colours on maps simply to keep the powerful and well funded green lobby groups at bay.

I have a first hand example of this from the meeting with the federal environment minister. The current process is proposing to close off the main area of the Perth trench to all gamefishing activities, essentially shutting down the entire gamefishing industry and community in Perth. We asked the minister why this zone had been placed in it’s proposed position. We were told that the minister drew that zone himself because they needed one in that area, and there was no information to tell him where to put it, so he just placed it where he thought was appropriate.

Are you serious…………? And yes, this is really what we were told. I would not have believed this could happen if I had not seen it with my own eyes! I hate to think how they make decisions about the rest of the country and serious financial decisions! Maybe a dartboard is involved? Nothing would surprise me….

The problem with this entire process is that scientific process has been thrown out the window in favour of keeping green groups happy, and the current Labour party government in power through green group preferences. The point here is that the current process is deeply flawed, and lacking any scientific credibility at all in terms of it’s application and implementation.

The letter that we recently asked everyone to sign and send to Tony Burke, Federal Environment Minister, was a powerful enough message to make the minister change his mind on meeting with recreational fishers. Prior to the letters being sent, he had said that no meetings were happening, and the proposal was final – it just shows what people power can achieve.

I was at this meeting in Canberra, when the heads of every Australian recreational fishing group sat before the minister, and as a united voice, we all told him the same message. “Don’t Lock Us Out” was what he was told, and we explained why the current closures were wrong, and what can be done to find a compromise that works for all parties.

The bottom line here is that we have been given encouraging feedback from the Environment department, and told that if recreational anglers unite, and there is a significant show of support, through official submissions to the government, then the government will take action to amend the marine parks boundaries to provide better access to recreational fishermen. Even the Federal Opposition Leader, and likely next prime minister, has come out in public support of recreational anglers last week.

 All that needs to be done now is to let people power win the day.

If you care about recreational fishing in Australia, and having access to areas that you enjoy fishing, if you want your children and future generations to have a say in where they can fish, now is the time to stand up and be heard. Be very clear that if the Australian Recreational fishing community lies down and is not heard at this time, we will be steamrolled by a powerful and well funded green machine, and widespread closures will be proposed and implemented over coming. Don’t let these green groups tell us where we can fish, it’s time to stand up and say that we want proper scientific procedures and research to help decide where we can fish, and how to best protect our waters.  

This is the single most important event that has happened in relation to Recreational Fishing in Australia in the past 20 years, and now is the time to be heard.Just click the link below to take one minute to add in your comments and name and details and you’ll have made a huge difference, and helped to protect your recreational fishing rights for the future. 

–– Source: Damon Olsen | Nomad Sportfishing Adventures