Balance the key to fishing’s future, Port Fairy workshop hears

DROPPING a line was all part of the course at this week’s National Young Future Leaders in Recreational Fishing workshop in Port Fairy. 

Nine workshop participants from throughout Victoria and South Australia hooked a haul of snapper, calamari and a gummy shark off The Crags, west of Port Fairy — giving them not only a good feed but a perspective on the region’s charter fishing industry.

Victorian Recreational Fishing executive officer Dallas D’Silva said the fishing trip was a pleasant break from the rest of the workshop, that mostly comprised talks by representatives from different sectors of the fishing industry.

Mr D’Silva said the workshop, which was supported by the federal and state governments, aimed to develop leaders who could ably represent recreational fishing interests. 

As part of successional planning for the recreational fishing industry, it instructs participants about good fisheries management. 

“It will teach them how you work with other users of the resources, whether they be commercial or conservation interests,” Mr D’Silva said.

He said recreational fishing, such as for tuna off Portland or for snapper off Port Fairy, generated substantial income for the adjacent towns and it was important the pastimes be protected. However, those interests had to be balanced with those of commercial fishing operators and the environment.

The workshop participants are mostly keen anglers or have a close affinity with the marine environment.

Among them was passionate fly fisherman Anthony Marsh, of Bacchus Marsh, who has been involved in fly fishing promotional events.

Mr Marsh said he hoped to have a community role in fisheries management and wanted to ensure equity between commercial and recreational fishers.

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