|  First Published: December 2006

The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) has started its review of the 1995 fisheries legislation. The fishery stretches from Cape York to the Qld/NSW border and is a massive area to manage, but the new legislation will have a dramatic impact on most recreational fishers in Queensland who fish the rivers, creeks and inshore areas of our east coast.

Public consultation meetings were held along the east coast from Port Douglas to the Gold Coast during October and November 2006 and recreational fisher attendance at meetings was fairly poor considering the impact this new legislation will have on their pastime. From the summaries of seven meetings posted by early December on the DPI web site, the total commercial attendance was 132 people and the recreational figures were 189. Considering that the recreational fishing numbers in this state would be well over 1000 times that of the commercial sector, it is a pretty poor showing on our part.

A lot of the apathy could have to do with the general scepticism and cynicism of recreational fishers towards government departments when it comes to our fishery’s regulation. This has a lot to do with the bad taste left in rec fishers mouths after the recent rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef by GBRMPA.

DPI&F are certainly doing their best to appear open and accountable with some great initiatives to keep the process transparent. The best initiative is the posting of summaries of all the meetings on the DPI website at http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb/16050.html#five .

If this is a genuine attempt by fisheries management to listen to the public, then it will be a massive effort to meld the diverse views into a workable legislation. In spite of the scepticism amongst the recreational community there is still a fair deal of optimism that maybe this time the government will get it right.

The fisheries offices were making all the right noises during the meeting that I attended. The proof will come from the release of the draft plan, which is expected towards the middle of this year.

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