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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 4 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 1095..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

In 1995 NSW Fisheries estimated that illegally caught fish from outside the ACT - usually over quota or under size - worth approximately $17 million per year was being sold in the ACT. The Fisheries Bill 2000 tackles this illegal trade and more.

The Bill provides comprehensively for recreational fishing: the Minister will be able to make determinations relating to recreational fishing in the ACT, covering closures of fishing waters; prohibited sizes; prohibited weights; prohibited amounts; noxious and controlled fish, and prohibited fishing gear.

The ability to make these determinations will allow the Government to ensure that the legislation remains up to date, reflecting the latest scientific and technological advances in the fields of fishing and fish ecology.

I am pleased to be able to announce today that there will still be no licence required for recreational fishing. A number of other States have introduced recreational licences but this Government has been able to make proper provision for recreational fishing without looking to raise extra revenue through recreational licences.

To mark this important step for recreational fishing, I am pleased to announce that funding for the fish stocking program of ACT waterways will be doubled from next financial year.

Several provisions in the Bill relate to the efforts of the ACT and other Australian Governments to stem the trade in fish caught illegally interstate and sold here.

The Fisheries Bill Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 includes a requirement to register before undertaking fish receiving, which is receiving wholesale fish supplies direct from commercial fishers. Any registered fish receivers operating in the ACT will be required to keep records.

It will also be an offence to receive fish in the ACT that have been taken illegally interstate.

This will help us to prosecute commercial fishers from NSW and other states who sell or process "excess to quota" and undersized fish in the ACT. Fisheries around the world are under severe pressure and we can now play our part in ensuing that dishonest people do not take more that their fair share of this precious resource.

Provisions have been included in the Bill to bring the enforcement powers of conservation officers up to date.

The legislation will be administered by a team of highly trained conservation officers, including the Lakes Rangers who have recently been transferred to the Environmental Regulation area of Environment ACT, whose role will include continuing education of the fishing community on appropriate fishing practices.


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