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Anglers battle ‘worst’ ban imposed for years


Anglers in New South Wales, Australia are being reminded to sign petitions to reverse the 12-month ban imposed on eastern blue grouper fishing. Several petitions opposing the decision are currently in circulation.

Opponents insist that the ban, which took effect from March 1st this year, is unjustified and was implemented without any stock assessment.

Now petitioners are requesting that the Legislative Assembly calls on the Government to reinstate proper fisheries management based on science and remove the 12-month ban until a stock assessment of the eastern blue grouper is undertaken.

The species was previously only off limits to spear fishers, but the new ban outlaws all recreational anglers targeting the species. Anyone breaking the ban will face a $500 penalty notice or a maximum court-imposed fine of $22,000 or six months in prison. A second offence would incur a $44,000 fine or 12 months in prison, or both.

But Stan Konstantaras, President of the NSW Recreational Fishing Alliance, told Fishing World magazine there was a complete lack of justification for the ban apart from appeasing the animal welfare lobby and its emotive arguments. “Grouper are thriving,” he said. “This is fisheries management at its worst. It is the worst decision we have seen for years.”

It is believed the Government sees the ban as a trial period, after which it will consult stakeholders and the community about longer-term changes to eastern blue grouper fishing.

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