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Commercial fishermen call on permits for anglers


Commercial fishermen in South Australia (SA) are calling for the introduction of a paid-for permit system for recreational anglers.

SA and Queensland are currently the only Australian states where recreational anglers are not required to hold permits. In other states permits are needed to fish from boats and, in some places, from land.

However, commercial operators from the Marine Scalefish Fishery in SA have to pay an annual fee of $3,000, while those who hold quota licences pay thousands on top of that.

Now those operators say an overhaul of the recreational sector is required, including permits and phone apps for recording their catches.

“It’s grossly unfair,” said Lower Eyre Peninsula commercial fisher Hugh Bayley. “We are paying huge amounts of money to manage a resource that everyone has a right to access and the recreational sector pays nothing.”

Bayley believes a permit system of $40 to $50 a year for recreational anglers would combat the issue of dwindling fish stocks in the state and would help fund more fisheries officers to ensure catch limits were complied with.

RecFish SA’s Asher Dezsery says his organisation doesn’t oppose a permit system provided the money went back into the sector, suggesting a model that included day, weekly, weekend and yearly permits.

Marine Scalefisher Jeff Schmucker said the fees should be used to create a phone app for mandatory reporting to provide data for fishery management. But this was described as ‘unrealistic’ by Dezsery. “It doesn’t exist elsewhere in Australia and takes away from the general culture of recreational fishing,” he added.

However, a state government spokesperson said the idea was not under consideration and that it could only be looked into after the recreational fishing community demonstrated support.

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