In late June, amendments were made to the Fisheries Act that will now allow Fisheries Victoria to consult more broadly with recreational fishers in how Victoria’s fisheries are managed.
Futurefish Foundation has worked closely with other organisations such as VRFish, the Australian Trout Foundation, Native Fish Australia, the Australian Fishing Trade Association and the Scuba Divers Federation to review the old consultative arrangements and come up with a new structure.
The new arrangements were then put out for public comment via a Fisheries Management discussion paper. Eighty-four submissions were received and these submissions were considered in formulating the new legislation.
Under the old legislation, there were two statutory bodies that Fisheries Victoria consulted with, and both these bodies had very limited recreational fishing input from members. The two bodies, the Fisheries Co-Management Council (FCC) and the Fisheries Revenue Allocation Committee (FRAC) served their purpose when they were introduced nearly 10 years ago, but it was time for much needed improvements to consultative arrangements and the Victorian Government is delivering these changes as part of their 2006 election commitment to ensure recreational fishers have a greater say.
Fisheries Victoria has already announced that it will be forming the Recreational Fishing Grants Working Group to replace the old FRAC and unlike the FRAC which only had two recreational fishers sitting with four Government officers, the new Working Group will have an independent Chairman and will provide for eight recreational fishers selected from the Victorian public for their knowledge and experience in recreational fishing.
This is one of the best improvements to consultative arrangements that Victorian recreational fishers could ask for. It is now up to eight people who will have the adequate and appropriate knowledge and experience to provide the Minister for Fisheries with the right advice on how our licence money is spent.
In regards to replacing the other consultative body, the FCC, the Minister, Joe Helper has indicated that a new body will be formed called the Fisheries Consultative Body which will include representation from each of the five key fisheries resources sectors; recreational, commercial wild-catch, aquaculture, environmental and indigenous. This body will ensure that fit for purpose consultation is undertaken in relation to fisheries management.
The Melbourne 4X4 and Fishing Show is a must for all recreational fishers this year with a new look, new dates and new venue.
After 13 years at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, the show is moving to the refurbished Melbourne Showgrounds which will give the show a whole new look. There will be more boats, more fishing and more camping for the outdoor enthusiasts.
Once again, Futurefish Foundation Directors Paul Worsteling and David Kramer will play a big role in organising the show and this years stage show promises to be the best and most informative ever.
Paul Worsteling’s Cranbourne Tackleworld is bringing a semi-trailer of stock to the show and will have some show specials that will blow you away when you see them.
Futurefish Foundation will have a stand at the show so why not drop by and say hello and have a look at the projects we are working on.
In my last project update, I mentioned that Futurefish Foundation had made application for funding for the scientific research component of the project, to the Australian Governments Fisheries Research Development Corporation.
Well we are delighted to announce that the Fisheries Research Development Corporation has approved the funding through its Tactical Research Fund to conduct a risk assessment for stocking barramundi into Hazelwood Pondage.
This contribution is warmly welcomed and now allows us to engage our Principal Investigator, Dr Paul Hardy-Smith to conduct the scientific risk assessment for the project.
Once the risk assessment is completed, it will be presented to Fisheries Victoria’s Translocation Evaluation Panel for consideration of approval for barramundi to be stocked into Hazelwood Pondage.
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