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news release: rob’s weekly fish’n’tip 0626 by rob paxevanos
Dated: 29 February, 2012
Rob’s weekly FISH’N’TIP 0626 written for the week of Wed 29/2/2012

FISH’N’TIP 0626 “Don’t Lock out Anglers”: International Game Fishing Association Chief letter to our Minister.
International Fishing Organisations Lobby Burke not to Ban Fishing
20 Feb 2012

Rob Kramer's is the President of the International Game Fishing Association. I was pleased to see in his recent letter to Tony Burke on the proposed Commonwealth Marine Reserve he sums up extremely well some of my views on Marine Reserves, and importantly, I have these same views on Marine Parks in this area.

Dear Minister,
Re: The Proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve
I would again like to comment on the Marine Park being considered by your department in all the waters of Australia.
IGFA's objectives are founded on the beliefs that game fish species, related food fish, and their habitats are economic, social, recreational, and aesthetic assets which must be maintained, wisely used and perpetuated; and that the sport of angling is an important recreational, economic, and social activity which the public must be educated to pursue in a manner consistent with sound sporting and conservation practices.

The IGFA serves as consultant to administrative and legislative bodies around the world in order to ensure that the angler is fairly represented in decisions concerning the management of game fish populations and other issues which affect the future of recreational fishing.

Australian waters, and particularly the Coral Sea, are of significant international importance to recreational anglers. Many anglers from within Australia and from around the world, visit this area to enjoy the unique experiences this region can provide. The Coral Sea area supports a large and sustainable and economically important game fish industry and can continue to do so if good management decisions are in place that allow continued access while protecting the habitat that the marine ecosystem requires to survive and flourish. The IGFA is pleased that consideration has been made in the plan to allow for multiple use areas within the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve and that previous proposals put forward for a complete closure of all fishing have been rejected. The implementation of catch and release areas and “consume on site” areas within Habitat Protection zones is a positive move.
The IGFA is concerned about aspects of the proposed draft plan that will create no fishing zones that will cover over 50% of the marine reserve, an area of around a half a million square kilometres. We stand behind management predicated on the best available science focused on clear objectives with demonstrative results. IGFA views No Fishing Zones (NFZ) as simply another fisheries management tool. As is the case with traditional fisheries management tools (e.g., size and bag limits, closed seasons, etc.), the efficacy of NFZs is a function of the intended objective and the science behind it. That being said, IGFA does not support the implementation of NFZs without clear objectives resulting in a net improvement to fish stocks. IGFA is amenable to the concept of NFZs that protect critical/unique fish habitat, but only when research demonstrates that recreational angling is detrimental to its proliferation.
IGFA would support NFZs for recreational fishing when proof exists that;
1) fish stocks and/or key habitat is in peril,
2) recreational angling contributes to the problem, and
3) sound science indicates that their implementation will fix the problem.
While commercial fishing in the Marine Reserve does have an impact on fish stocks, the current situation, we believe, is that recreational fishing does not have an appreciable impact on the region. Indeed recreational anglers in the region have been in the forefront of the development of sustainable fishing practices, particularly tag and release fishing and the use of ‘fish friendly’ circle hooks. In addition, the recreational community has supported substantial and continuing research essential to the management of a number of game fish species, in particular Black, Blue and Striped Marlin.
Further, the legitimate activities of recreational anglers act as important eyes and ears on the water to report illegal and unregulated activities in the area.
The IGFA supports a balanced approach to management of the Coral Sea region which recognises its importance and natural beauty, its current and potential future uses and promotes sustainable activities in the area. It is clear that our natural marine resources need proactive management to ensure long term sustainability and IGFA and its affiliates have a long history of advocating for the wise use of the marine environment. IGFA realises the importance of recreational fishing in Australia and your effort to ensure that Australia’s waters are looked after for all the population.
IGFA looks forward to hearing of your decisions which we understand will be shortly released.

Yours faithfully,
Rob Kramer

Rob Paxevanos Fishnet Pro Angler

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