Gordon Hill

Gordon Hill

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    Pensioners exempted from netting attendance rules

    11/12/1992 12:00 AM
     
     
    Fisheries Minister Gordon Hill has exempted pensioners and the disabled from new netting attendance regulations for one night a week, for a trial period of 12 months.
     
    The new regulations make it illegal for recreational fishers to leave their nets unattended overnight.
     
    However, Mr Hill said that as a result of an approach on behalf of pensioners by the Member for Murray, Keith Read, he would waive the attendance regulation for this sector of the community between 4 pm Wednesdays and 8 am Thursdays each week.
     
    "Mr Read outlined the concerns pensioners and the disabled had with the new regulations," the Minister said.
     
    "I am sympathetic to those concerns.  I realise that many pensioners take great pleasure in being able to set their nets and leave them overnight to be collected the next morning," he said.
     
    "They feel they have been disadvantaged by the new recreational netting regulations.
     
    "The Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee has reconfirmed its previous position on net attendance regulations, following a review of the requirement.
     
    "However, I have decided to initiate a compromise.
     
    "People who possess a current pensioners licence for recreational netting, will be allowed to leave their nets unattended in those estuaries which are open to recreational netting for one night a week," he said.
     
    Mr Hill said the 12-month trial would help assess the impact of, and compliance with, this regulation.
     
    "It is important that these licence holders realise that nets may only be left unattended on a Wednesday night, and that only nets with a mesh size of 63 mm or greater may be used," he said.
     
    Mr Hill warned that some recreational fishers had expressed concern about recreational netting as a method of taking fish.
     
    "As a result, they will watch this concession with interest, so I urge those who leave their nets unattended on Wednesday nights to take extra precautions to ensure that any undersized or unwanted fish are returned to the water alive, and bag limits are obeyed," he said.
     
    "This compromise will allow the elderly or infirm to take fish for themselves, while ensuring that fish stocks are not being placed under excessive pressure."
     
    The Minister also announced that Stokes Inlet would be open to recreational netting for 12 months once it had opened to the sea.
     
    "Stokes Inlet is only periodically open.  It has been a successful fishing ground in the past, but its small size means tight controls are required for netting," he said.
     
    "However, I want to stress that the inlet will not officially be open to netting unless it breaks through to the ocean."
     
    Mr Hill added that the future of recreational netting would be examined in consultation with anglers, as part of an overall review of recreational fisheries by the Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee.
     
    However, he stressed that action to further limit netting opportunities could be taken if recreational netters disregarded fishing regulations, or if the practice was having an adverse effect on the proper management of fish stocks.