Warn­ing shot

Den­nis White, Gee­long, Vic

Field and Game - - RECOIL -

As a Port Phillip Bay com­mer­cial fish­ing li­cence holder and Field & Game mem­ber, I would like to re­spond to your ar­ti­cle “Fish­ers wel­come net ban” in the Feb-april 2016 edi­tion of Field & Game. In my ex­pe­ri­ence go­ing through this dis­grace­ful buy­back process with the An­drews Gov­ern­ment, I am now fully aware, as we all should be, this gov­ern­ment has no con­sid­er­a­tion for mi­nor­ity groups. Sim­ply, it is where the votes are. We shoot­ers are a mi­nor­ity group. The leg­is­la­tion change was not based on ev­i­dence or ac­cu­rate statis­tics, and I would like to ad­vise your read­ers of the facts that have been ig­nored by the An­drews Gov­ern­ment and some of the recre­ational sec­tors. • The Gov­ern­ment ig­nored the fact that com­mer­cial fish­ing stocks (par­tic­u­larly those tar­geted by recre­ational fish­ers — King Ge­orge whit­ing and snap­per) in Port Phillip Bay have been cer­ti­fied as eco­log­i­cally sus­tain­able. There is more than enough fish for recre­ational and com­mer­cial fish­ers to

share, as per the Fisheries Act 1995. • The clo­sure of the PPB net fish­ery means that recre­ational fish­ers will no longer be able to ac­cess a lo­cal source of fresh bait from PPB. There has been no sci­en­tific re­port­ing of recre­ational catch since 2001, there­fore we do not know the im­pact of recre­ational catches ( and in­creas­ing the num­ber) has on the Bay. We do know that for species such as snap­per, the recre­ational catch is at least 4 times that of the com­mer­cial sec­tor in PPB. The Gov­ern­ment ig­nored the fact that the clos­ing of the com­mer­cial net fish­ery is deny­ing the Vic­to­rian pub­lic, who do not recre­ation­ally fish, a source of sus­tain­able and lo­cal fish. This was an is­sue of eq­uity which was com­pletely over­looked. • The meth­ods used by Ernst and Young to es­ti­mate the recre­ational fish­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the economy have been reviewed by sci­en­tists and are found to be flawed, bi­ased, and have re­sulted in a gross over­es­ti­mate of the value of the recre­ational sec­tor. All of these facts have been ver­i­fied in two re­ports by an in­ter­na­tional and in­de­pen­dent fisheries sci­en­tist. I would be happy to send you these re­ports if you would like more de­tails.

The PPB small-scale fish­ery is world class in terms of sus­tain­abil­ity, and what many coun­tries are as­pir­ing to. The clo­sure has had a dev­as­tat­ing effect on many fam­i­lies and their liveli­hoods, purely in a vote grab­bing ex­er­cise. This has been a shame­ful ex­am­ple of poor, and in­equitable fisheries gov­er­nance.

I am con­cerned about our fu­ture as shoot­ers, that's why I was prompted to give you a brief in­sight as to how this Gov­ern­ment has treated us and hope FGA mem­bers do not get the same treat­ment.

It's a fact FGA pro­vides a great ser­vice to mem­bers and the pub­lic alike, but be­ware, it's not about what's right or wrong, but where the votes are!

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