The proposed adjustments to bag and size limits for recreational fishers in South Australia is in response to reduced fishing stocks in the state. Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell confirmed that the review was all about making sure of sustainable fish stocks into the future. He was confident that the majority of South Australians would be supportive of the adjustments. Which were to reduce bag limits for garfish and blue swimmer crabs by fifty percent, and reducing the bag limit for the iconic tommy ruff by a third. In addition, King George whiting would be reduced and size limits will also be adjusted; seasonal closures may also be brought in.
Legal Changes to Recreational Fishing in South Australia
The South Australian peak body representing recreational anglers voiced concerns that some of their members would be adversely affected by the proposals. RecFish SA spokesperson, David Ciaravolo stressed that it was important that everybody got to have a say on the issue. He understood the importance of sustainability but if stake holders considered certain aspects of the proposal to be unfair, they needed to be able to be heard.
Fishing charter businesses could be hurt by these proposals, because they will have to curtail the fishing activities of their customers once these bag limits have been reached. Business people involved in recreational fishing will naturally be concerned about measures that affect the popularity of things like fishing trips. They have, however, had their chance to have their say during the public meetings that have been held in February and March in Port Lincoln, Ceduna, Whyalla, Wallaroo, Adelaide, Renmark, Millicent, Victor Harbor and Kangaroo Island.
Whether Adelaide lawyers will be called in is a moot point, but I would be surprised if anyone was really willing to take on the government in the courts. Commercial fishers have stated on record that these changes have been in the pipeline for a long time and that anything that was good for the sustainability of the fishing stocks was supported by them. Recreational anglers and the charter businesses that support them need to realise that there are bigger issues at stake than their profitability. With rising human populations around the globe, fishing stocks need to be managed well if they are not to be fished out. Fishing is no longer a free and universal pursuit for all human beings; fish stocks are a finite resource that need to be micro-managed and vigilantly protected.