Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 22, 2023


Regional Recreational Fishing Forum

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (15:17): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the chamber about the regional recreational fishing forum held recently in Wallaroo?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:17): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in the regions as well as in fish. I was pleased to hold a recreational fishing forum in Wallaroo last week at the fantastic Wallaroo Sailing Club with my colleague Minister Hildyard who, as Minister for Sport and Recreation, has made it possible for fishing clubs to apply for grants funding after recognising fishing as an eligible activity for those purposes.

There was certainly some competition in getting a crowd to the forum that night. Many of the people were down at the beach below the sailing club cooling off after quite a warm day and looking like they were having a fantastic time. It was great to see the people who did attend take the time to share their thoughts and their ideas about how to make recreational fishing in our state an even better and more accessible activity. We know that almost 300,000 or more South Australians already enjoy recreational fishing.

There were a range of topical and important issues raised, such as national consistency of measurement of some species, compliance, fishing licences—people both in favour and against that concept—fishing infrastructure and the new eligibility under our government for fishing clubs to access grants.

It was also a chance to talk with the recreational fishing community about measures the state government is taking that are of particular interest to them—during the extended snapper ban to give this iconic species a better chance at becoming a sustainable fishery once again, with nearly a million snapper fingerlings to be released between both Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent. We also mentioned the funding towards greater research that aims to improve our knowledge about the biomass and juvenile snapper coming into the fishery, as well as the important work in assessing whether the West Coast snapper stock should be included as it is now with the Spencer Gulf snapper stock or indeed should be treated separately.

I was very pleased to have the opportunity to meet with a number of volunteers, who are part of PIRSA's Fishcare program, helping to educate and give advice to the fishing community or, as one of the volunteers put it, to be our eyes and ears on the jetties and ramps around the state. They do a fantastic job, especially in one of our most popular fishing regions of Yorke Peninsula.

I would also like to thank RecFish SA executive officer, Asher Dezsery, for his attendance and sharing some of the work that he and his organisation are doing as the independent peak body for recreational fishing in South Australia.