The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) has concerns about the media release by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) yesterday announcing the deaths of four dolphins and two seals as a consequence of industrial scale fishing in the small pelagic fishery by the Geelong Star on its first fishing trip.
This is a concerning and unacceptable number of mortalities given the short time the vessel has been shipping.
ARFF urge AFMA to take immediate action to ensure this issue is addressed.
ARFF are also concerned about the statement in the press release by AFMA in relation to reporting of the deaths ‘Unfortunately, from time to time both commercial and recreational fishers will accidentally harm marine mammals and other protected species while seeking to put seafood on our tables.’
ARFF and its members are disappointed by this statement. To put recreational fishing in the same category as industrial scale commercial fishing in relation to threats to marine mammals reflects a complete misunderstanding of recreational fishing in Australia.
In addition, it is ARFF’s opinion that the statement was misleading in the context of threats to marine mammals and completely unnecessary, adding nothing to the intent of the AFMA press release.
ARFF has asked AFMA for a retraction of the statement.
ARFF is currently in discussions with the Small Pelagic Fisheries Industry Association (SPFIA), AFMA and the government on the current commercial fishing activities in the small pelagic fishery.
The current situation of these mortalities and the statements by AFMA has placed the future of these discussions under considerable pressure.
Nicholle Smith, Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation