CEO of the Australian Marine Alliance (AMA) Dean Logan today announced the launch of the NSW arm of the AMA with the appointment of a NSW board to address issues for the commercial, recreational, boating and allied fishing sectors collectively into the future.
Mr Logan said 'AMA NSW is a key part of our growth strategy across the country and our core objective to create strong policy and scientific synergies across jurisdictions regarding fisheries management and environmental issues.'
The AMA NSW division comes at a pivotal time for NSW with the Liberal / National Coalition proceeding with a major restructure of the fishing sector and fisheries management more broadly. A key strategy of the AMA NSW division is to ramp up the AMA’s social media campaign and to address fundamental policy issues across industry sectors in NSW.
Mr Logan continued, 'The AMA has spent considerable time establishing relationships and networks throughout NSW engaging heavily with recreational and commercial fishers.
'With our website receiving unprecedented traffic, our online survey is showing that 99% of fishers thus far do not support the NSW restructure aims or processes.'
AMA Board Member and commercial fisherman Dane Van Der Neut agreed, 'As commercial fishermen from the Hawkesbury region we believe the only way forward is to work with the recreational sector to deliver meaningful reform and strong environmental outcomes.
'Government policy has failed to deliver for the marine environment and so it is up to fishermen collectively to demand outcomes and control the agenda.
'Frankly, the mess NSW finds itself in is not our fault and we are tired of Governments blaming recreational and commercial fishermen for fisheries management problems. As an example, recreational anglers are being asked to support 50% reductions in bag limits when they contribute $13.5M per annum to NSW fisheries management. Recreational anglers have every right to ask why has their money not been spent better.
'The Government is also forcing professional fishermen toward a full-cost recovery model by increasing our fees dramatically and yet we receive nothing in return even though NSW imports 85% of it’s total seafood
'We also disagree that buying out hundreds of small fishermen will give those who remain increased value. The issue is not to ask fishermen to leave, but rather to better manage NSW fisheries.'
Mr Logan concluded, '34% of NSW State waters (345,100 hectares) are covered by some form of fishing restriction and yet for 15 years NSW fisheries managers have failed to deliver fisheries and environmental based outcomes. Something is wrong and it’s not the fisherman’s fault.
'The AMA NSW Board will continue to work across all the sectors to deliver long lasting science driven environmental and fisheries management outcomes not only for the industry, but the NSW public as a whole,' ended Mr Logan.
More at www.australianmarinealliance.com.au