Keep Australia Fishing Final Report
My name is Martin Salter. I am a retired member of the British Parliament and a passionate recreational fisherman. I’m currently living and working in Sydney as an angling writer and policy and campaigns consultant. Like many anglers across the world, I have some grave fears about the future of our sport. I’ve been asked by representatives from angling bodies, the tackle and boating trade and the fishing media to pull together some ideas about how we can secure the future of recreational fishing and counter more effectively the threats to our sport, lifestyle and in some cases, our livelihoods.
Why me? Well, I provided a detailed submission to the recent NSW Recreational Fishing Inquiry that was circulated widely. In it I argued for a fresh approach to the planning and operation of marine parks, the issue which has come to dominate much political debate around angling in Australia. My political background in the UK included being the first ever Parliamentary spokesman for angling, preparing Labour’s Charter for Angling and helping launch the Angling Trust, the new national governing body for recreational fishing in England. I was, for many years, the main interface between anglers in the UK and politicians in both government and in parliament.
What follows are the results of many hours of discussions with anglers themselves, with organisations representing our sport in Australia and around the world, with fisheries scientists and managers, with government ministers and MPs, with policy advisors andwith some of the leading names in recreational fishing. Tight timescales and tight budgets have inevitably constrained the scope ofconsultation but I have endeavoured to get a flavour of the situation on the ground from every State and Territory and to collect useful and valuable examples of good practice from around the world, including Europe and the USA. My recommendations are my own and they seek to draw on the very best from these jurisdictions and suggest how they might be applied in the Australian context.
I am grateful to the very many people who have supplied me with reports and information, given me the benefit of their experience, opinions and expertise and, best of all, offered their time and their encouragement. In particular I must thank all the members of my long suffering Project Reference Group who have been regularly bombarded with requests for information and explanation and who have been most helpful and supportive.
They are John Dunphy and Doug Joyner from AFTA, fisheries scientist Dr Ben Diggles, Chair of RecFish Australia Russell Conway, Stan Konstantaras from ANSA , and Jim Harnwell and John Newbery from Fishing World – Australia’s No 1 recreational fishing magazine. Lastly, thanks must go to my new Aussie fishing friends Phil, Greg, Evan, Benn, Gary, Stuart, Sami, Al, Steve, James, Warren, John, Ollie, Tom and Derek for showing me over the last year some of the weird, wonderful and highly effective ways in which you guys catch fish in the ‘Lucky Country’.
Although I’ve enjoyed some great fishing trips in my time out here, not just in NSW but in Queensland, the ACT and the Northern Territory and I reckon that Australia can still claim to have some of the best recreational fishing opportunities in the world, the future does not look bright. It became clear to me that there is both a need and an appetite for a fresh approach. I hope some of the ideas and recommendations in the following pages will help point the way forward so that the next generation of Aussie anglers and visitors to this wonderful country can continue to enjoy access to great fisheries and some great, sustainable and enjoyable fishing.