Recreational Fishing

Fraser Coast Community Unites

MARCH AUSTRALIA INVITE (1)

I have organised this event in Hervey Bay Qld for the entire Fraser Coast in line with the weekend there will be Welfare Marches around Australia 11th – 12th July.

The venue was chosen for several reasons. As you are probably aware Freedom Park is the home of the Hervey Bay Communities remaining two historical buildings – Memorial Hall and the Railway Station; which Council is trying to clear for their proposed new building. I thought this was the best location, as it is a perfect position to highlight the concerns of the people surrounding heritage, environment, foreshore management, small business, rates, crime, drug epidemic, jobs, dingoes and all the issues affecting our community by the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s poor and mismanagement practices, including State and Federal Governments.

People from ALL OUR Communities will be attending. Specialist parties have also been invited. i.e. Foreshore, Environmental, Rates Association, Youth Groups, Domestic Violence Advocates, Child Welfare Groups, Save the Fraser Island Dingo, Homeless Advocates, Heritage Committees, Small Business Representatives, De-amalgamation Committee, all Community Groups that utilise the Memorial Hall on a daily basis and the Vietnam Veterans Association currently working from the Railway Station etc.

Ministers, Senators, Members of Parliament, Mayor, Councillors and Executive of the Fraser Coast Regional Council will be given special invitations. Some are already aware and waiting confirmation of event details.

I am waiting on confirmation from two worthy groups to cater for the event as an opportunity to fund raise.

If you know a group or speaker who would like to be heard please ask them to contact me.

Click here to join the event

RECREATIONAL FISHING WILL HAVE MY SUPPORT

Our unique natural asset should be a tourist mecca but is being ‘managed’ to the detriment of recreational fishers and tourism, so that a small number of commercial fishers and associated
businesses might benefit.

There are NO fish species commercially caught in the Great Sandy Strait that cannot be sourced elsewhere.

Fishermen and tourists are well informed. Increasingly they are traveling to regions with Net Free Areas because there is an abundance of fish there.

The Fraser Coast desperately needs a sustainable economic boost. Other regions such as Northern Territory are reaping the benefit of the economic multiplier effect that recreational fishing readily offers with low input costs.

The estimated value of recreational fishing on the Fraser Coast [as at December 2011] is: $203,812,337 [made up of $66,962,378 per year going fishing and visiting recreational fishers
spending $136,849,959 on accommodation] PLUS an additional $177,965,336 of capital equipment.
Every time an angler goes out on the Urangan Pier there is $31 in economic value contributed to our local region.

Every time a boating angler goes out of the Urangan Harbour or from one of our boat ramps, there is $71 in economic value contributed to our local region.

The Great Sandy Marine Park is the ONLY marine park in Australia (probably the world) that allows unrestricted commercial gill-netting to take place in Conservation Zones.

Not only is this happening in a World Heritage listed area , it is also happening in a declared RAMSAR Site, a dugong protection area, a major turtle ecosystem, as well as the recent declaration in the Great Sandy Biosphere.

In the Fraser Coast region, catch rates for anglers have dropped from 7.8 fish landed per person per trip in 1986 to 0.81 fish per person per trip in 2003 . This is the most current research but concerns are that this decline continues even further today.

The majority of commercial fishers comply with regulations. However, there are many practices that are exploitative, questionable and almost impossible for the Fisheries officers to police.
Recreational fishers have my support for the following reasons:

  1. Removing inshore commercial netting is critical to the value-chain of our local economy
  2. Restoring fish numbers in the inshore waters of the Fraser Coast for:
  3. Beach fishing – more of the family’s ‘bread & butter fish’ of whiting, bream and flathead
  4. Pier fishing – keeping kids off the streets with whiting, flathead, mackerel and bream
  5. Estuary fishing – restoring iconic sports-fish such as barramundi and threadfin salmon, as
  6. well as grunter and jew
  7. Rebuilding our local Reef, Rock and Offshore fish stocks for a diverse fishing experience
  8. Protecting – dugongs, turtles, dolphins and whales

Tourism

  1. Fraser Coast tourism inflow, drawing visitors that would have gone to other Australian
  2. and overseas fishing destinations that have Net Free Areas
  3. Complementing whale watching which is only 3 months per year and has come under pressure from competition
  4. Re-opening the eco-tourism opportunities without having to weave around commercial
  5. nets and belligerent pros
  6. Seizing the opportunity to build a world class destination for sports-fishing

Businesses that benefit from Tourism

  1. Energised and growing tourism related businesses such as:
  2. Accommodation – motels & apartments
  3. Food services – restaurants, hotels, cafes and take-away
  4. Transport, vehicle and boat hiring services
  5. Air and water transport fuel, bait & chandleries
  6. Travel agency and tour operator services
  7. Arts, recreation and entertainment services

Retail trade

  1. Employment and the Local Economy
  2. Job creation and the underpinning of existing employment
  3. A positive ‘knock-on’ effect into other areas of our local economy
  4. Exploiting the multiplier effect to gain regional economic value
  5. Positive participation in the growth of regional Queensland
  6. Putting confidence back into the Fraser Coast
  7. High return for negligible initial cost

Communities all the way around the Qld coast have repeatedly requested waters close to their community centre be made off limits to gill net fishers. The practice of allowing industrial size gill nets in the middle of towns working right through the barramundi closed season has decimated fish stocks and affected recreational experience and tourism opportunities. There are 11 small areas identified and documented state wide requesting Net Free Areas (NFA’s). Other states and the Northern Territory have long recognised the importance of maintaining healthy fish stocks, Queensland has not.

Will release a more detailed report when time permits.