New recreational fishing strategy unveiled

Sharon Starick with David Basham at the Bluff Boat Ramp.
Sharon Starick with David Basham at the Bluff Boat Ramp.

A recreational fishing strategy which lays the foundation for a prosperous future for the South Australian recreational fishing sector has been unveiled.

Developed by the Minister's Recreational Fishing Advisory Council (MRFAC) on behalf of the state's recreational fishing community, the Recreational Fishing Strategy for South Australia 2021-2024 outlines key pillars for the future of the sector - growth, delivery, partnerships, knowledge and information.

Key action items for recreational fishers include investigating the rollout of electronic diaries, explore new funding opportunities, improve research and monitoring and increasing education.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the strategy contains practical actions for priority areas of growth to achieve a strong future for all of the 277,000 recreational fishers in South Australia.

"South Australia has an incredibly proud recreational fishing sector which plays a key role in the social and economic fabric of our state, contributing more than $160 million," Mr Basham said.

"This new recreational fishing strategy, put together by MRFAC, provides practical actions to help grow the sector in a sustainable way and ultimately get more people fishing.

"We know that when people fish there are significant economic benefits because people often stay in regional communities, visit the local tackle shop and eat at local restaurants, which all support jobs.

"This is a practical comprehensive strategy which has been written after extensive consultation with the South Australian recreational fishing sector.

"This is not a government document, it is a strategy prepared by South Australian fishers, for South Australian fishers.

"I would encourage everyone who picks up a rod, line, pot or net to read this strategy and think about what they can bring to the table as we all work together for the sustainable management of recreational fishing in South Australia."

The government will consider the key actions in the strategy, as should all those who have an interest in the sector, including local government and retail fishing trade businesses.

"I congratulate the MRFAC on preparing this important, agenda-setting strategy which is balanced across regions and stakeholder groups," he said.

There are more than 60 actions in the strategy.

Actions for the recreational fishing sector which are identified in the strategy include: investigate the rollout of electronic diaries across recreational fisheries which are managed by registration or Total Allowable Recreational Catch (TARC), seek government commitments to on-going funding proportionate to the value of recreational fishing, or alternatively, explore separate funding resources, improve the participation of recreational fishers in research and monitoring projects, work with recreational fishing groups to increase fishing skills and best practise handling, work with schools and the Department for Education to identify opportunities to promote recreational fishing as a safe, family friendly and healthy activity.

MRFAC Chair Sharon Starick said the South Australian recreational fishing was diverse in its demographics, regions and practices resulting in a broad range of interests and needs.

"This strategy is looking at the key needs of the recreational fishing community over the next three years and aims to deliver tangible outcomes to the recreational fishing community by building capacity and capability," Ms Starick said.

"Incorporating the growth and progress opportunities identified by the 2020 Recreational Fishing Priorities survey, this strategy focusses on both short and medium-term outcomes for the sector to increase stewardship, sustainability and security.

"It is now up to us - the whole recreational fishing community - to work together constructively to increase trust, unity, strength and resilience for a better future for this sector in South Australia."

The full strategy can found on the MRFAC website: https://www.mrfac.org.au/

This story Rec fishers to own strategy first appeared on The Times.

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