DPI Consultation - Absolute Crab!

Recreational fishers have been left out of the consultation process following a DPI decision to extend crab trapping in the Clarence River according to Shooters Fishers and Farmers MLC Mark Banasiak.

“As far as I can see, no information has been sent out to the peak body for recreational fishers or the NSW Recreational Fishing Advisory Council (RFNSW), about the changes the DPI is proposing.

“It's ridiculous there is no avenue for recreational fishers to have their say on this matter, DPI has completely shut them out,” said Mr Banasiak.

The proposed changes to crab trapping in the Clarence River will allow trapping to be extended upstream from the boat ramp to opposite the Maclean Court House.

Professional fishermen are also conflicted about the trapping extension as this location is considered a nursery for mud crabs. Wiping out the stocks here will have a major impact on crab numbers in the future.

SFF Clarence spokesperson Daniel Spears has major concerns about the extension.

“If this is allowed to go ahead we will likely see the large stretch of river from the Maclean Court House to Grafton inundated with crab traps which will decimate mud crab stocks.

“I have been approached by a number of local, professional fishermen that fear the worst, that their industry will be wiped out through over fishing.

“The chances of recreational fishermen catching a decent feed of muddies will be nil,” said Mr Spears.

A consultation paper was released on the DPI website with no Environmental Impact Statements and no reference to any science behind the decision.

“I only became aware of these changes after Mr Spears approached me with the concerns of Clarence constituents.

“DPI and the Minister have a lot to answer for, they have told SFF that they contacted the chair of RECFISH, but we have since found that is not true.

“I would urge the Minister to come and talk to me. It is easier to sit and negotiate an amicable outcome that everyone could agree upon, instead of being duped by his department,” said Mr Banasiak.