Presidents Report August 2010


Hello to all NTGFIA members in 2009 I stood and said that the government moves as fast as a glacier now in 2010 I am pleased to report that things have changed. As the year passes I look back and I am proud to be part of a very dynamic diverse industry. We were at loggerheads with the previous fisheries management and staff. Changes to fisheries staff have allowed this industry to progress now that the personalities have been removed and issues are at the forefront. The NTGFIA has also had it to look at its personnel and change to meet the new challenges. Graeme Williams is our new executive officer and progress has accelerated with his positive relationships and at last we can see results. .For some of you the progress has been slow and does not seem to be happening but I can assure that we are making progress. There has been a dozen meeting following the first managed fisheries consultation at the Travelodge Mirambeena 2009
I will briefly outline in this report the development of the NTGFIA Managed Fishery. If you are not aware, the Government has appointed Ros Volcano as a conduit between Fishing Tour Operators and the Government. I am happy to say that a draft of the NTGFIA Management Plan will be submitted for consideration to the Minister.

The NTGFIA Managed Fishery will enable our industry to prosper into the 21st century. The following is expected:
1. A new survey standard for vessels used by Fishing Tour Operators and a time line for all operators to meet these new criteria. Boats less than 5 meters will need to meet the hire drive standard that do not meet survey
2. The federal government is reviewing a new Australia wide standard for all commercial road users and commercial boating so we will continue to be able to do business with minimum amount of disruption to our industry.
3. There have been rumblings of spatial closure in heavily fished areas and a trip limit endorsed by our industry. I have decided that until the release of the recreational fishing survey due out at the end of this year we remain undecided on this particular issue.
4. The fishing returns we have submitted over the past 14 years have shown an increase in fishing effort and a decline fish captures. This has prompted the Government to review their procedures and to act to support the bio mass of fish for future sustainability. This has been an aid to help bolster our argument for a sustainable managed fishery for the Northern Territory. Make sure that you report your capture as close to the actual fish caught and report the areas that you are fishing in to guarantee a true record of events.

5. Graeme and I have also requested a dollar value for our industry be developed. We expect this to be a benchmark and I am happy to inform you that is underway. Once again this will show NTGFIA should not be ignored as we have been in the past and the Fisheries Division should then show the respect that is due to the largest professional user group in the fisheries sector. Recent visits to the Fisheries HQ show a notable absence of any reference to the NTGFIA and a notable glut of other managed fisheries It is hoped that in the future Fisheries will provide our industry the same respect and value our industry should deserve.

Recently your Executive Officer, Graeme Williams and I met with the Impex representative Mr. Ian Larkin. His job is to convince our industry that the environmental impact will have no affect on our fishery. Impex want to blast a 14 metre channel through Walker Shoal and remove 50 Olympic size swimming pools. To do this they need to drill and blast 1500 shots over one year. From my experience after working on the North West Gas shelf in 1980, the effect of this will disrupt the equilibrium and bio mass for several months and maybe even years. This is what happened to the fisheries around Karatha, Western Australia. Graeme and I asked “What’s in this for us?” as this will affect several operators and the amateur fishing industry.

To help the rumor mongers in this industry I am going to clarify the developments involving myself and my business. I am at present winding down the harbour business and concentrating on extended charters and freelance guiding so you have not seen the end of me yet.

It saddens me to report on the death of one our colleagues Mark Hanlon.. My condolences go out to the family. The NTGFIA placed a Bereavement notice in the NT News on Tuesday 16/8/2010.