Licence money put to work
  |  First Published: November 2003

THE SALTWATER and Freshwater Recreational Fishing Trust Funds have provision for Small Grants Programs. Any individual or organisation can submit an application for funds from the trusts to finance projects that will benefit recreational anglers.

Funds available from the Small Grants Program are limited to a maximum of $5000 per application. Applications that can provide matching funding, usually dollar-for-dollar, generally get priority but the more anglers who benefit over as wide an area as possible is also a consideration.

Examples of projects approved for funding by the Trust Expenditure Committees include fish-cleaning tables, with about a dozen installations started at various boat ramps along the coast. Matching funding has been provided by local councils with commitments that the facilities and services will be maintained by council staff.

Weir removal and/or modification to allow fish passage has also been supported with funds from the trusts provided for materials and the matching contribution in the form of labour by local fishing club members. Fisheries staff have assisted by negotiating approvals from local councils and property owners to enable the changes to occur.

Research usually comes at a high cost but universities have the advantage of a student population to carry out field work as part of their studies and money from other sources to provide funding for postgraduate research. Deakin University has received a small grant to carry out research on the population structure of estuary perch and Southern Cross University has been supported in a similar project on eastern freshwater cod.

A lot of applications have been received for funding of boat ramp installations and repairs. These applications have not been supported because the expenditure committees believe there are other avenues for funding, such as NSW Waterways, and the ramps are not specifically for the use of anglers. Commercial enterprises and fishing clubs and organisations have also made application for business assistance but again have not been supported, but specific projects from clubs for activities such as children’s clinics would be considered.

The Trusts are currently open to applications and more information is available on the NSW Fisheries website at or by ringing Bryan van der Walt on 02 9527 8411.

Bruce Schumacher,

Chair, Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing

• $3500 of funds from the NSW recreational fishing licence will be used to install a light and fish cleaning table at Narrawallee Inlet. The funding, to be matched by the Narrawallee Inlet Social Fishing Club, would provide for the facilities at the Inlet boat ramp in Normandy Street. The project involves erecting a light pole with a 15 minute time switch and protective cover.

• A total of $6500 will be used to install fish cleaning tables at the Balmoral and Belmont South boat ramps on Lake Macquarie, with funds matched by the City of Lake Macquarie.

• $2500, matched by the Great Lakes Council, will be used to install fish cleaning tables at Marine Drive, Tea Gardens.

• $5000 has been matched by Goulbourn City Council for improved facilities at Marsden Weir on the Wollondilly River, including redevelopment of the foreshore, installing a pontoon, jetty and gangway and erecting signs. Work is expected to take about a year. This work will open the area for recreational activities and improve foreshore access.

• Brooks Creek weir, which restricts fish movement and breeding in Lake Illawarra. is to be removed. $5000 towards the cost has come from Recreational Fishing Licence Trust money with $9500 from Wollongong City Council. The weir separated fresh from brackish water in Lake Illawarra, preventing species such as mullet, bass and estuary perch from migrating. The weir also creates turbulence that scours the creek bed and bank, resulting in increased sediment entering the lake and threatening to seagrass.

• $2000 will be used for repairs to the boat ramp and pontoon at Bells Bay camping area at Toonumbar Dam, near Kyogle, with funds to be matched by the Kyogle Fish Acclimatisation Society. The dam is presently closed to fishing because of low water levels.

• $2500, to be supported by labour from the Harrington/Crowdy Head Chamber of Commerce, will be used to install an outdoor display centre at Harrington. The centre will be erected near the Beach Street boat ramp to show information about size and bag limits, fishing licences, local recreational fish species and habitat protection and boating maps for the Manning River, Khappinghat Creek and Crowdy Head and details on boat and water safety procedures.

Men caught with illegal net on Clarence River

TWO North Coast men will be prosecuted in court after being found using an illegal commercial fishing net on the Clarence River on October 5.

NSW Fisheries Director-General Steve Dunn said the men, both aged 40, from Lismore and Lennox Head, were apprehended by NSW Fisheries officers following several hours of surveillance.

“The officers saw the net stretched across the Clarence River near Tabulam late on Sunday night and waited for the men to return to retrieve it,” he said.

Mr Dunn said the men's boat, net and trailer had been seized. The maximum penalty for the illegal use of a set gill net is $22,000.

Mr Dunn said anyone concerned about illegal fishing activity should call their NSW Fisheries office or the Fishers Watch number 1800 043 536.

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