Fishing Possession Limits


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (11:36): I rise to strongly support the member for Hammond in his motion to disallow these regulations. I point out that, as well as being an important regional issue, this is actually an important city and metropolitan issue as well. There are people from the city and people from the country who all enjoy going on their fishing trips. Our entire state benefits from our commercial fishing industry, as well as the recreational, and our entire state benefits from important environmental protections as well. This is an issue which is important to our entire state because our entire state has the opportunity to participate and our entire state is affected by these regulations.

The areas in question where the fishing occurs are really the Upper Spencer Gulf, Yorke Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, Far West Coast, South-East, Kangaroo Island, Fleurieu Peninsula—those sorts of areas. It is very important that we have possession limits in place but, of course, where you set those limits is always going to be open for discussion.

There will be people with different views. We need to respect the commercial fishing sector's views and we need to have limits in place to protect their industry. We need limits in place to protect the environment. I do not think that commercial fishermen are going to wreck our entire coastline but, certainly, pockets of it could be very detrimentally affected.

Balancing that, of course, is the fact that we need our recreational fishermen, women, boys and girls to have the opportunity to go fishing and enjoy the fact that, these days, many people are limited to one or maybe two weeks' holiday at a time in a recreational area. They should not be penalised by the fact that they need to do all of their fishing perhaps just once a year.

We also do not want to penalise other related businesses. This is a very important tourism issue. The boating industry, caravan parks, campgrounds, hotels, general stores and many other businesses, particularly retail businesses, rely on the commercial fishing industry, so it is very important that people still have the ability to go and enjoy these holidays and make the most of things.

The member for Hammond, as the shadow spokesman for fisheries, has outlined our position with regard to where we think possession limits should be set. This is not so much about pushing a motion for those specific limits as it is for disallowing the regulations at this point in time, but, if we had the opportunity, we would not be shy about putting forward exactly what we think is right.

We see the WA model as being a good one to follow, not that we would do exactly that, but something along those lines, I think, is very important. I highlight also that in Tasmania, where recreational fishing is perhaps more important than any other state because they rely on trout fishing to support of gigantic part of their wealth creation, they give their fisheries inspectors very strong powers, very strong authority, and local Tasmanians do not object to that. They appreciate that and they respect that because they recognise how important trout fishing is to their state's economy, so there is no reason to be scared of rules and regulations.

I would also like to point out that, along with whatever possession limits may be set, there are some other important issues that need to be considered, and they include identification of fish. Obviously, if a group of people go fishing together, while they are away they might share a chest freezer or something like that, the possession limit is back at home (it would quite rightly apply to whole families), fish would need to be wrapped and clearly identified in terms of the date they were caught and who they belong to. It would be quite reasonable for a mother and father and son or daughter to have all of their personal fish stored in one place. We would need to identify whether exactly the same possession limits apply to adults as to children, and as with most things like this there is usually a cut off age of about 16, and that becomes very relevant.

We would need to make sure also that the fish being stored in a particular location, the fish being possessed in a location, and tagged with the owner's or the fisherperson's name are relevant to that household. It would be fruitless to set possession limits and then say that a person could have 20 other people's fish all stored in a freezer in a home and call them all their own just because they wrote Bill, Bob, Sally, Fred, and whoever else, on the fish. They are the sorts of things that need to be considered.

Let me say again that this is a very important issue for regional South Australia with regard to the contribution to the economy, but it is also an important issue with regard to metropolitan Adelaide with regard to who these possession limits impact upon.

I will wind up by saying that I am absolutely positive that if this was a conscience vote this motion from the member for Hammond would be roundly supported. I suspect very strongly that members in government, if they were looking at just what was best for their electorates, for the people who like to participate in recreational fishing in their electorates, they would support the member for Hammond on this issue.


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