PLANS for recreational fishing licences in some parts of Australia have met with a mixed reaction and the majority of anglers are already demanding a rethink on the scheme.

The idea was put forward by local angling body Recfishwest but many in the south west of the country are unhappy with the proposals.

A campaign is being launched by the organisation next month for the introduction of a licence fee which it believes is vital to the future of fishing in the area.

It is thought that the suggested annual fee of between $20 and $30 would raise an estimated $4 million which would be ploughed back into management, research and policing to ensure fish stocks for the future.

Recfishwest chairman Norman Halse said the revenue the licences would raise was crucial to maintain the health of the region’s fisheries.

He commented: “We are sitting on an underfunded and undermanaged fishery and are watching it get worse as nothing is done.”

He explained that the money would be used for extra inspectors, research projects and general management and believed the cost of the licence fee would be a small price to pay for looking after the area’s fishing heritage.

However, fisheries minister Kim Chance said the state government would honour its election promise that there would be no recreational fishing fee in its first term of office but could not say what future governments might do.

New South Wales and Victoria both currently have recreational licensing fees, with prices ranging from $5 for three days to $70 for three years.

Busselton Outdoor Sports and Leisure owner Rusty Ellis said: “There are some arguments in the community supporting the licence fee with stipulations that most of the revenue would be used to protect fish stocks. But we’re getting taxed on so much within the fishing sector that no more is warranted and it’s time to say no.

“When the government gets as much tax out of the industry as it does I’m sure that the $4 million needed could be sourced from elsewhere.”


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