Recreational fishers say handing control of inshore trawling to the Commonwealth could end in disaster, with social, environmental, and industrial repercussions from Sydney to the Victorian border.
Euro Fishing Association president Adam Martin said the proposed transition – from the NSW Southern Fish Trawl Fishery to the Commonwealth Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery – was yet to be signed off “thanks to a social-media campaign”.
“The official deadline is in August,” Mr Martin said.
“What we want is for all stakeholders to be invited to a completely new round of consultation.”
Mr Martin said the changes to the southern fish trawl, which apply south from Barrenjoey, would hurt the Eurobodalla’s economy.
“One of my biggest concerns is how it affects tourism; the area is reliant on visiting fishers from Melbourne and Canberra,” he said.
“On a grander scale, the number one issue is the protection of the environment within the marine estate.”
In a statement, the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) said under the proposed change, “fish stocks would be managed by one jurisdiction, removing unnecessary duplication and administrative burden, and operate under a quota system, based on the best available science.”
“We recognise that some genuine issues have been raised during consultation and if these issues are not addressed by the working group, DPI will further consult with other stakeholders before proceeding."
Mr Martin said key stakeholders were now weighing in.
“Fisheries has been bombarded by the recreational sector across NSW,” he said.
“The commercial sector, Aboriginal advisory groups, environment groups; all are developing statements on their positions.
“We have spoken to a lot of ministers at state level – all eyes are on DPI to see what they will do.”