RECREATIONAL fishing leaders have united to back the formation of a peak national body representing all anglers and angling groups.
To be known as the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, the new organisation was officially announced today in a joint statement exclusively obtained by Fishing World. In the statement, Recfish Australia chairman Russell Conway and Australian Fishing Trade Association CEO Allan Hansard detail the structure and objectives of the new organisation.
Fisho on Tuesday revealed details of the lengthy negotiations that have been underway since the release last year of the influential “Keep Australia Fishing” report prepared by international angling activist Martin Salter. The cornerstone of Salter’s report was the need for Australian anglers to be represented by an effective and independent national body.
There had also been significant pressure from politicians such as federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and Opposition Fisheries spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck for the rec fishing sector to “get its act together” and unite via a single national organisation.
Fishing industry pundits see the announcement by Hansard and Conway today of the establishment of ARFF as a major step forward by the rec sector. The formation of ARFF would result in a far more proactive relationship with government as well as giving anglers the resources to fight green extremism and oppose unsustainable industrial fishing practices, industry insiders said.
It is expected that all major rec fishing groups – including the Game Fishing Association of Australia and the Australian National Sportfishing Association – as well as the various state-based organisations plus the Boating Industry Association of Australia – will join with and support ARFF.
AFTA’s Allan Hansard, who along with RecFish’s Russell Conway has been a driving force behind the establishment of this new peak body, said ARFF would act as a unifying force for all anglers and angling groups.
“I see the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation working in a similar way to putting a magnifying glass to the sun,” Hansard said today.
“The magnifying glass does not change the nature of the energy of the sun but captures it and allows it to be focused on specific targets.
“In this way ARFF will not change the way existing recreational fishing organizations work and operate but it will allow their significant energies to be harnessed and directed toward achieving the best outcomes for the recreational fishing community at the national level.”