Politicians to fish the South Coast

The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA), which represents the suppliers of fishing goods and services to Australia’s five million recreational fishers, is proud to announce the inaugural AFTA Politician and Celebrity fishing tournament. 

The tournament will be held on Sunday, February 3, from 8am to 3pm at St Georges Basin. 

AFTA chief executive Allan Hansard said: “Recreational fishing is the largest participatory sport and leisure activity in Australia. 

“The focus of the tournament is to showcase the benefits of recreational fishing to the economy, community and the environment in a fun way. 

“AFTA has issued invitations to all sides of politics, including Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Greens leader Christine Milne. 

“The response from federal and state politicians has been great, with Federal Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig and Shadow Fisheries Minister Richard Colbeck already agreeing to cross rods at the tournament. There’s also been interest from politicians as far away as Tasmania and Northern Territory. 

“Well known celebrity fishers including Rex Hunt, Paul Worsteling, Adam Royter and Chloe Taylor have already agreed to team up with the pollies for this unique event in order provide them with expert fishing advice and first-hand experience of how important recreational fishing is to the Australian economy and society.

“The pollies and their celebrity sidekicks will be guided around the fish-rich waters of St Georges Basin, a designated rec-fishing haven located on the NSW South Coast, by a team of high profile tournament anglers operating a fleet of specialist performance sport fishing boats. 

“If nothing else, a ride in one of these amazingly fast boats will give the politicians a real thrill. Recreational fishing is a huge industry these days that appeals to a large section of the community. Keen anglers pay out upwards of $100,000 for the specialist boats and equipment used in the upper echelons of the sport. 

“Conversely, mum, dad and the kids can go and fish the local jetty for just a few dollars. It’s important that our national and state leaders understand the true socio-economic worth of the rec fishing sector and a day fishing with the nation’s top tournament anglers will definitely assist in getting that message across.  

“Equally important is the realisation that recreational fishing is wholly sustainable. This will be a catch and release competition, meaning all fish are returned unharmed to the water. 

“We want to demonstrate to the various politicians who take the time to compete that modern recreational fishing is based on conservation ethics and deep respect for the marine environment. 

“Proceeds from the event will go to local charities.” 

Further information on the AFTA Politician and Celebrity fishing tournament can be obtained from the AFTA Office in Canberra on (02) 6282 8500, or email media contact Alice Logan Edwards at alice.loganedwards@afta.net.au. 

Rob Paxevanos, www.robpax.com

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