Fishing body VRFish has hit back at claims the Victorian Government’s investment into recreational fishing is failing fishers, saying interest in fishing is growing.
The Shadow Minister for Fishing and Boating, Tim Bull, claimed recent figures from Victorian Fisheries Authority showed the number of licences sold had fallen, not risen.
But VRFish chairman Rob Loats said there was an ‘‘unprecedented resurgence’’ of fishing as a result of current funding from the Target One Million campaign to get one million people fishing by 2020.
‘‘Fishing has never been better and there is unparalleled levels of excitement across our inland and coastal fisheries,’’ he said.
He said claims the Target One Million policy was not delivering the expected outcomes were unfounded.
‘‘Using the number of recreational fishing licences sold annually to measure the performance of Target One Million and levels of fishing participation is flawed,’’ he said.
A significant proportion of the Victorian community is exempt from a fishing licence including people under 18 years old, people above 70 years old and anyone who holds a Seniors, Pension or Veterans Affairs card.
VRFish said it had previously commissioned two economic surveys of recreational fishing in Victoria by consultancy and accounting firm Ernst and Young.
‘‘Our studies were conducted by world economic experts and the data used was statistically robust in its calculation our sector injected $2.6billion in direct economic contribution to the Victorian economy in 2013-14.’’
The discussion comes as a new survey was launched on Friday hoping to build a better understanding of the demographics, attitudes and social and economic contributions of Australian recreational fishers.
Federal Assistant Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Richard Colbeck said the 12-month survey would provide a clearer picture of where people fished, how often they fished, what motivated them and what was important to their experience.