More dialogue with concerned communities not a Ban would be a more effective solution to Barra fishing concerns – NT Seafood Council

Media Release

NT Seafood Council

More dialogue with concerned communities not a Ban would be a more effective solution to Barra fishing concerns 

Northern Territory Seafood Council wants the Minister for Primary Industry and Resources to help us engage communities to work through issues together and create something better for the Territory than what we have now rather than consider a ban on professional barramundi fishing.

‘Following last week’s lodging of a petition to the Minister, another Facebook site was activated calling for the banning of professional barramundi fishing in the Fog Bay area,’ said Northern Territory Seafood Council, Chief Executive Officer, Ms Katherine Winchester.

‘I recognise these communities have genuine concerns about professional fishing activities such as fears about declining fish stocks and interference with sacred sites and we haven’t always done enough to openly discuss and resolve these concerns with communities.

‘But banning professional barramundi fishing from areas does not solve all the problems within the fishery, it is a simplistic solution and detrimental to the Northern Territory’s economy and ultimately the Territory lifestyle.

‘The Barramundi fishery is an iconic NT fishery important to both the NT economy and to consumers who rely on the fishery for Barramundi and King Threadfin,’ Ms Winchester went on to say.

‘There is an opportunity to create a solution that brings benefits to communities rather than banning which is why we want to talk through the issues and are calling for a meeting with the Minister.

‘It is clear that some people are frustrated when they post old footage and images of poor practices that resulted in bans on professional barramundi fishing to try to drum up support for further bans.

‘Banning isn’t the only solution; let’s work with these communities to work out ways to deal with the poor practices instead. We don’t like that the only solution to date has been to ban professional fishing operations. If we as Territorians endorse knee jerk reactions and bans what is the next ban we face that changes our territory way of life?’ Ms Winchester asked.

‘Innovators within the industry should be incentivised to keep innovating, not be punished for the activities of poor practices by another person.  The solutions need to make sure poor practices can’t continue and the innovative operator’s practices become the way all commercial fishermen behave,’ Ms Winchester said.

We encourage recreational fishers to report to AFANT any issues they have with professional fishing operations as we are seeking to work with AFANT to help us address existing poor practices and to work with us to identify solutions.

‘We don’t want to be in a position to be responding to poor practices and potential bans, we want to develop a long term vision for our iconic fishery that all user groups support and we work towards – together,’ Ms Winchester stated.

Media Contact:   Donna English 8981 5194