1 May 2016 (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) today applauded the Federal Government on its decision to invest $15 million over the next two and a half years into a National Carp Control Plan.
The funding will be used to develop a comprehensive national community based plan aimed at controlling and possibly eradicating the European carp from Australian waterways, with the potential release of a carp control virus by the end of 2018.
Managing Director of the ARFF, Allan Hansard said “The Government’s announcement of the national carp plan is an essential first step in addressing Australia’s worst established freshwater aquatic pest. European carp rival the crown of thorns starfish as an environmental threat and in their ability to destruct our aquatic ecosystems. European carp have invaded and dominated our inland river systems for over 30 years and each year their stronghold on our waterways is increasing, to the detriment of our native fish species and the health of our inland waterways.”
“The Government’s considered, calculated and carefully measured approach to tackling this problem reflects their commitment to getting the process right, and developing a sustainable long term solution to the problem, an approach we fully support and one Australia’s recreational fishers are willing to help deliver.”
“We are pleased the Government has listened to our calls to address this issue and have committed to comprehensively fighting this pest and win back our unique inland river systems for our native fish, other aquatic species and for future generations of Australians.”
“We are also pleased that the Government realises that the National plan should not only address how to control and remove carp but how to replace them with our native fish species and also restore the health of our aquatic ecosystems. We see this as essential to a long term solution to the problem.”
“Our inland water ways are the life blood of our food bowl, hundreds of communities and our inland environment. This is an opportunity for the Government to address one of our greatest environmental threats and help restore the health of our unique inland waterways. It would be great to see our inland rivers again running clearer and abounding with native fish species. This is something Australians have not seen for generations and this would be a great environmental legacy for future generations.”
“We commend the Government on this initiative and look forward to working with them to make it happen.” Mr Hansard concluded.
27 April 2016 (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) today called for the Government to take immediate action to control European carp from our waterways. The call comes in the light of growing concerns that climate change could be aiding European carp to spread further thoughout Australian rivers and coastal estuary systems.
ARFF Managing Director, Allan Hansard said that “Carp are Australia’s worst established freshwater aquatic pest. They rival the crown of thorns starfish as an environmental threat and in their ability to destruct our unique aquatic ecosystems.”
“Scientists have revealed that Carp and other invasive fish species now make up to 80% of the fish biomass in the Murray-Darling, and up to 93% in some areas. . We know carp are part of the reason why our native species like the iconic Murray cod and Yellowbelly are struggling in many parts of the system, and in other parts, they have disappeared completely.”
“Scientists haven’t been able to confirm our suspicions but we think that the warming effect of climate change on our river systems is increasing the ability of carp to adapt and populate colder water river systems and even estuary systems. Recreational fishers are reporting catching carp where they previously haven’t been caught, including our coldwater rivers and even our saltwater estuaries. “
“Governments need to act now to stop the invasion of carp in our waterways as the current set of tools such as electrofishing, netting and cage trapping have proven ineffective. Our concerns are that if left unchecked carp will continue to dominate our inland and estuary waterways and our iconic native fish species will continue to struggle or could even become a thing of the past in many inland rivers.”
“We understand the Federal Government in partnership with the State and Territory governments are considering a multi pronged attack on the carp invasion, including the release of a carp specific herpes virus to biologically control the carp as well as an extensive native fish rehabilitation program that will give our native species a fighting chance against the carp and an opportunity to repopulate our inland river systems.”
“This is an opportunity for the Government to address one of our greatest environmental threats and help restore the health our unique inland waterways. It would be great to see our inland rivers again running clearer and abounding with native fish species. This would be a tremendous environmental legacy for future generations.”
“We urge the Government to get moving on these measures before it is too late.”Mr Hansard concluded.
For more information:
Mob: 0427 267 545
Email: enquiries @recreationalfishing.com.au
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) today called for greater transparency and disclosure of the fishing operations of the Geelong Star. The call comes after conflicting accounts about a recent interaction between the vessel and a whale shark near Eden NSW. Whale sharks are a protected species under the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
Allan Hansard, Managing Director of ARFF said that “ARFF understands that in response to media inquiries the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has confirmed the interaction with the whale shark and that 2 fins were entangled in the outside of the net. Once freed, the shark swam away unharmed.”
The Small Pelagic Fisheries Industry Association (SPFIA) on its Facebook stated, “a whale shark had come alongside the net, the vessel maneuvered away and the whale shark had swum off unharmed.”
Other unconfirmed reports in the media were that the whale shark was caught in the net and once freed with mechanical assistance it floated away.
“ARFF calls for the video footage of the Vessel’s operation during the intervention are made available to confirm the actual and factual process of events,” said Mr Hansard.
“This encounter has raised the issue of how many interactions like this one with the whale shark and other threatened and endangered species have occurred that we don’t know the full story about?”
“In addition, it raises the issue about other by catch of the vessel. How many marlin, kingfish and other valuable species for recreational fishing – in addition to the bait it extracts –has the Geelong Star caught that we do not know about?”
In its submission to the Senate Inquiry on Supertrawlers ARFF raises this issue and states that: “fish that are not sold and are discarded are recorded on logbooks of the Geelong Star. However, the data is not publically available. This situation makes it impossible to determine the potential impact of the Geelong Star’s activities
on key recreational species that are non-target species. As these species are high value species for recreational fishing, it could be that the Geelong Star is catching, killing and discarding species that potentially exceed the value of the small pelagic fish it is catching for sale from these areas.”
“ARFF calls for all information on discarded fish species caught by the Geelong Star are made public. This will provide transparency in relation to the opportunity cost of the vessel’s activities to the recreational fishers and the local communities that support them” concluded Mr Hansard.
See the full ARFF submission to the Senate Inquiry into Supertrawlers at:
13 January 2016 - PDF Version
Unified Call to Action on Carp Management
A coalition of industry and environment groups have come together to call on State and Federal governments to take action against Australia’s worst freshwater aquatic pest, the European carp.
Carp currently make up more than 80% of fish biomass in the Murray-Darling Basin. Over half of our native fish species in the Murray-Darling Basin are now listed as vulnerable or threatened with extinction. Invasive pests including Carp are a major cause in this decline.
Australian’s deep concern about the threat Carp pose to our environment has been the catalyst for this unique alliance comprising the Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, Invasive Species Council, National Farmers’ Federation and the National Irrigator’s Council.
Jonathan La Nauze, acting campaigns director for the Australian Conservation Foundation said “we are united in calling for clearer, healthier waterways and fish communities. Australia now has a once in a generation opportunity to achieve this through broad-scale biological control using a naturally occurring virus that is specific to Common carp”.
Managing Director of the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, Mr Allan Hansard said “CSIRO research has shown that there is a tremendous opportunity to transform our rivers and recreational fisheries through the biological control of Carp. Their testing has confirmed that the Carp Virus is specific to Carp, and will kill 70-100% of Carp in a short timeframe under optimal conditions”.
CEO of the National Irrigators Council, Mr Tom Chesson said “It’s important that the focus should not solely be on the delivery of environmental water. We need to undertake additional activities – like biocontrol of Carp using this virus - if we are to achieve meaningful long-term rehabilitation of our waterways and fish stocks”.
CEO of the Invasive Species Council, Mr Andrew Cox said, "We are right behind Carp biological control. Strong state and federal government investment will be needed to maximise the chance of success.” “It is essential that community engagement and on ground clean-up efforts accompany the release of the virus’ so that water quality and native species fully benefit.”
Managing Director of the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, Mr Allan Hansard said “the benefits are clear. Research has revealed that around five million Australians fish recreationally, and that fishing is worth billions to the Australian economy. Carp impact significantly on a number of the species that recreational fishers love to catch. Quite a modest investment in Australia’s Carp biocontrol program could deliver transformational change, environmentally and economically”.
Allan Hansard, CEO Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation
0438 243 994
This is a joint statement from the Australian Conservation Foundation, the National Irrigator’s Council, Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, Invasive Species Council and National Farmers’ Federation.
8 January 2016 - (-)
Geelong Star Operators Renege On Talk Outcomes
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the peak national body representing Australia’s recreational fishing community has expressed disappointment and concern that the Geelong Star operators have not heeded advice from ARFF or honoured undertakings made at a meeting with the Government, Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), ARFF and the vessel operators before Christmas.
This follows reports that the Geelong Star has been fishing the popular and iconic recreational fishing grounds off Bermagui on the South coast of NSW in recent days after ARFF advised them not to fish these areas.
A press release from Assistant Minister for Fisheries, Anne Ruston following the meeting stated:
“In addition, Seafish Tasmania also agreed that the Geelong Star voluntarily agreed to avoid fishing near major game fishing tournaments.
The press release also stated:
“The operators of the Geelong Star assured the meeting that best endeavours will be made to minimise interactions between the vessel and recreational fishers.
Mr Allan Hansard, Managing Director of ARFF said “We are disappointed that the Geelong Star operators have not honoured these undertakings as the vessel has been reported fishing off Bermagui when the Bermagui game fishing tournament starts on 25 January.
“In addition, we are still in the Christmas, New Year holiday period where thousands of families converge on the south coast of NSW to go fishing. The fishing operations of the vessel were reported to us by recreational fishers in the area, so it is hard to see how the vessel owners are using their “best endeavours” to minimise interactions with recreational fishers.
“These recent actions have put a cloud over future talks about the operations of the Geelong Star scheduled for early February. Unfortunately, their actions have also brought into question the value of such talks.” Mr Hansard concluded.
Minister Ruston’s press release can be found at:
For more information: Nicholle Smith
Mob: 0427267 545
9 December 2015 - (-)
4 December 2015 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the national organisation representing the interests of Australia’s recreational fishing community recently met with the Assistant Minister for Fisheries and representatives of the commercial fishing sector to discuss issues relating to resource sharing and the operations of the Geelong Star. The talks were constructive, and informative, but it is clear that there is some way to go before the concerns recreational fishers have about the operations of the Geelong Star are fully
“ARFF would like to thank the Assistant Minister for Fisheries, Anne Ruston for her leadership in organising the meeting. ARFF also thank the Assistant Minister for committing to work with ARFF on addressing how recreational fishers and other stakeholder groups can be appropriately recognised in fisheries management legislation and fisheries management processes.” Mr Hansard, Managing Director of ARFF said.
“Talks with the commercial fishing representatives on the operations of the Geelong Star were constructive.
They progressed our understanding of the fishery but were also challenging. The true nature of the challenge of achieving an outcome where the vessel will avoid key recreational fishing areas, particularly over the busy summer holiday period is now clearer.
“It is the objective of the ARFF to be constructive in the process and we tabled a map of ‘areas of concern’ and advised that fishing operations in the ‘areas of concern’, particularly those on the south east coast of Australia would have a high probability of interaction with recreational fishers over the summer period. We also advised that these areas should not be fished by the Geelong Star to avoid such interactions.
“While there were no agreed outcomes in relation to the operation of the Geelong Star for this fishing season during the meeting, there was constructive discussion on how a fishing program might be structured in the future and an agreement to meet again in late January to progress these talks.
“ARFF notes that subsequently, the Geelong Star operators have offered not to fish Zone 7 (from Barrenjoey NSW to Fraser Island Qld) and also not fish near major game fishing tournaments to the end of the Fishing season on 30 April 2016. “This is a welcome development, and a step in the right direction. In exploring other possible concessions, we encourage the Geelong Star operators to also consider the recreational fishers and the coastal communities south of Zone 7 and the millions of recreational fishers who are not involved in fishing tournament activities.
“Other outcomes of the meeting included a mapping by AFMA of all the fisheries and environmental closures over the area of the small pelagic fishery. These closures impact on the ability of the vessel to fish throughout the full range of the fishery, especially on the Australian east coast. ARFF were not previously aware of the full implications of these special closures on the operation of the vessel. However this information consolidated in the form of a map highlighted to recreational and commercial fishers the significant challenge that will need to be addressed in finding a future outcome.
”Finding a long term solution to this complex issue was always going to be challenging and while the talks have given us a far better understanding on some issues, other issues revealed through the talks have added further complexity. However, we have agreed to meet with representatives of the commercial fishing sector early next year where we will be taking the opportunity to explore these issues further.” Mr Hansard concluded.
27 November 2015 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the national organisation representing the interests of Australia’s recreational fishing community has called for proposed talks with the new Federal Minister for Fisheries on the fishing operations of the Geelong Star to address the concerns of recreational fishers and the hundreds of coastal communities that support them.
So far the call by ARFF for urgent action on the Geelong Star to stop it fishing over the top of our iconic recreational fishing spots has not been answered by Minister Joyce.
However, Coalition MPs are listening and are also calling for action. Sarah Henderson MP for Corangamite in Victoria is calling for the Geelong Star to be banned, reflecting growing concerns in her electorate about the impact of the vessel's operations on local communities.
ARFF are supporting a rally to be held by Sarah Henderson at Torquay Angling Club at 11.00 on Sunday 26th of October 2015.
Come and join the rally because come summer the Geelong Star could be fishing over the top of your fishing spots at your favourite christmas holiday destination.
24 September 2015 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) is calling for an urgent meeting with the Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce to address growing concerns over the factory freezer vessel the “Geelong Star” fishing Australia’s small pelagic fishery.
04 September 2015 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) is calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to display caution in allowing the removal of the ban on the Geelong Star from fishing at night. The foreign owned factory trawler was banned by fisheries authorities from fishing at night after it killed eight dolphins on its first two trips to sea.
24 June 2015 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the national organisation representing the recreational fishing community, has called for the Federal Government to provide detail on its plans to deal with the Geelong Star now that another dolphin death has been reported on its current fishing trip. This is the ninth dolphin death reported since it started fishing in April this year.
15 June 2015 - (-)
26 May 2015 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the national organisation representing the recreational fishing community, has announced that discussions between it and the Small Pelagic Fishing Industry Association (SPFIA) have collapsed.
Talks between ARFF and SPFIA have been occurring over past months in an attempt by recreational fishers to work with the industrial fishing sector in order to minimise the impacts of the Geelong Star on the fishery, recreational fishers and the communities that support them.
The collapse in the talks has occurred because the SPFIA has rejected a proposal developed by ARFF and its members (including the peak national and state organisations representing the recreational fishing community) that aimed to protect recreational fishing from impacts of the 95m factory trawler known as the Geelong Star.
“There is little point continuing talks when the SPFIA does not seem to be serious about dealing with our concerns. Their counter offers to our proposal are not even close to what we have been seeking in good faith,” ARFF managing director Allan Hansard said.
According to ARRF’s Allan Hansard, the ARFF proposal rejected by the SPFIA mapped out a way forward on this issue and addressed many of the concerns that Australia’s recreational fishers have about industrial scale fishing of the small pelagic fishery.
16 April 2015 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the national organisation representing the interests of Australia’s recreational fishing community, today announced that discussions with the Small Pelagic Fishing Industry Association (SPFIA), the organisation representing the operators of the Geelong Star, had progressed in order to address concerns about the impact of fishing of the small pelagic fishery (SPF) on recreational fishers and the broader community (see attached joint statement).
23 March 2015 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the national organisation representing the interests of Australia’s recreational fishing community, today announced that it is in discussions with the Small Pelagic Fishing Industry Association (SPFIA), the organisation representing the operators of the Geelong Star, in order to address concerns about the impact of industrial exploitation of the small pelagic fishery (SPF) on recreational fishers and the broader community (see attached joint statement).
12 February 2015 - (-)
Media release from Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck
11 February 2015 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the national body representing Australia’s recreational fishing community, today released its policy position for the Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review. It has been estimated that around 5 million Australians go fishing, generating around $10 billion in economic worth to the Australian economy every year.
21 January 2015 - (-)
The Australia Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the peak national body representing Australia’s recreational fishing community, says that the federal Government’s intent not to list five species of shark, three thresher and two hammerhead species, as part of the Convention for Migratory Species (CMS) makes common and practical sense.
ARFF managing director Allan Hansard said: “Australia is a world leader in fisheries and conservation management and already has regulations in place at the national and state levels that provide for the protection of these species. These and other species are monitored and studied and where appropriate adjustments to management are made to maintain protection of these species.
‘The listing of these species under the CMS convention into the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Convention Act (EPBC Act) would also create unintended consequences for recreational fishers. If a recreational fisher, by chance, caught one of these species after it was listed he or she could face a potential $170,000 fine or a two year jail period.
“There are countries that do not have the high level of fisheries and conservation management that Australia has. In these countries these species are under real threat because of inappropriate fishing and conservation management.
“ARFF supports the true intent of the listing of these shark species under the CMS, which is to ensure these countries put in place appropriate fisheries management and conservation measures to protect these species.
“ARFF supports all efforts by Australian governments and non-government organisations to ensure these countries address these issues,” Mr Hansard concluded.
For more information:
Mob: 0427 267 545
30 October 2014 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the national body representing Australia’s recreational fishing community, today reconfirmed its support for Prime Minister Tony Abbott's ban on supertrawlers. The Prime Minister announced his ban on these industrial fishing boats in March this year.
ARFF Managing Director Allan Hansard said: “In recent weeks we have had a chance to review the most recent information on the management of the Small Pelagic Fishery from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). We are not convinced that there is sufficient new information to change our position on the industrial exploitation of this fishery.
“Our position has been clear on this issue. We seek a comprehensive scientific assessment before any decision is made on if or how the Small Pelagic Fishery should be fished, including:
“In summary, we are yet to be convinced that introducing industrial scale fishing practices to this fishery is the highest and best use of this natural resource, nor is it in the national interest.
“We are aware that the report from the Independent Scientific Panel detailing the impacts of industrial fishing is now with Government. However, unless the report sheds significant new light on the issue, we will continue to support the Prime Minister's decision to ban the supertrawlers from our waters,” Mr Hansard said.
For more information:
Mob: 0427 267 545
01 Octoober 2014 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, the peak body representing Australia's recreational fishing community, has asked Prime Minister Tony Abbott and State and Territory leaders to follow the example set by US President Barak Obama and create marine protected areas that encourage recreational activities including recreational fishing, yet ban industrial activities such as mining and commercial fishing that are harmful to the marine environment.
14 December 2013 - (-)
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the peak national organisation representing Australia’s recreational fishing community, today welcomed the announcement by the Coalition Government, of a scientific review into the controversial Marine Park plans. If implemented the proposal, developed by the previous Labor Government, would have seen Australia’s 5 million recreational fishers locked out of 1.3 million square kilometres of Australian seas.
Recreational Fishing – Federal Politicians agree its Good for our Health, Great for the Environment and Fantastic for our Economy.
At the ARFF Parliamentary Breakfast touted to be one of the largest in recent times and attended by more than 100 Federal Politicians, government officials and recreational fishers, Government Ministers recommitted to election promises made to recreational fishers.
5 September, 2013 - PDF Version
The Australia Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the peak national body representing Australia’s recreational fishing community says this Saturday’s election is a referendum on the fishing rights of Australia’s 5 million recreational fishers.
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) is proud to launch its call for A Charter for Recreational Fishing in Australia.
With over 5 million Australians going fishing each year, recreational fishing ranks as our largest participation sport and lifestyle activity. Recent estimates reveal that Australians spend more than $10 billion annually on recreational fishing and much of it is spent in rural and regional Australia.
Keep Australia Fishing reveals a map of the commonwealth marine national parks and potential extensions as proposed by several Australian and international environment groups.
the map can be found here: (-).
Media Release – 22 March 2013
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) has welcomed the recent Government response to the Review of Commonwealth Fisheries: Legislation Policy and Management (The Borthwick Review).