Welcome to the free email newsletter of the

Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW

December 2016

Sydney Loves Fishing - the video

We are working to save recreational fishing access in Sydney Harbour and in all waters from Newcastle to Wollongong.

We need your help...we are working on a video to show that the recreational fishery is healthy and sustainable and to debunk some of the myths being used to push fishing lockouts in the Sydney region. We have shot professional video footage both above and below the water to give us up-to-date images of what we see every day as anglers: a productive fishery that can easily sustain well-managed recreational fishing.

We need you to help us by donating a modest amount to complete the video processing and production. Once completed the video will be shared on websites and social media.

We need just $2000 from Sydney's anglers...just a few dollars each from lots of anglers will help. Click here to make a donation to our fund raising account.

What happens to your donations?
- Approximately $1500 of your donations will be used to meet video editing costs. 
- Remaining funds will pay for promotion on social media and website expenses.
- Extra funds, if received, will be used to take more video footage and continue with a further campaign to prevent recreational fishing lockouts in the region.
-Your donation will be received by the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW, an incorporated not-for-profit association registered in NSW. A full account of donations received and how the funds have been spent will be shown on our websites and also on

Rockfishing lifejacket trial starts on 1 December

These signs are popping up on nearly every coastal location sign post across the Randwick Local Government Area, coinciding with the 1 December date when the new Rock Fishing Safety Laws come into effect and a trial of regulation and enforcement commences.

This means that if you are fishing with a line in the water, or assisting a rockfisher land a fish, you will need your NSW fishing licence or exemption and must be wearing a correctly fitted appropriate and approved Life Jacket meeting Australian Standards (indicating the Standard number or logo on the jacket). The NSW Government hasn't recommended a particular lifejacket for rock fishing and essentially it will be left up to the fisher to choose from the list of approved lifejackets. Adults will be able to wear any life jacket that complies with Australian Standard AS 4758 level 50S or above.

The 12 month trial (during which no fines can be issued), will be backed by a range of education and awareness fishing community engagements across the Greater Sydney Region. There will be a 12-month grace period before the law is enforced with a $100 fine.

Please stay up to date or check out or the NSW Government Water Safety website for further information.

The NSW Government has released a number of fact sheets and promotional materials which you can download here.
Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 fact sheet
Rock fishing safety tips
Rock fishing safety leaflet
Rock fishing safety poster multilingual

Do the right thing in the racks!

Avoid coming into contact with oyster farm infrastructure when fishing in and around oyster farms.Image: Shane Chalker Photography.

Hooking a bream amidst the tangle of posts, racks and trays that make up an oyster lease is as good as it gets for estuary anglers. Heavy leaders and locked up drags are standard techniques but don’t always result in fish being landed. The bream are often only centimetres away from cover when they eat the lure or bait, meaning frayed leaders, lost fish and bruised egos are always on the cards.

Oyster leases are an important regional industry. The NSW oyster industry comprises 2254 individual farms covering almost 3000 hectares across numerous estuaries, including many Recreational Fishing Havens. The industry is worth about $40m annually and employs hundreds of workers.

In NSW, oyster farms operate under a non-exclusive lease, meaning other users – such as recreational fishers – can share access to our waterways. However, it is an offence to damage or interfere with lease infrastructure or the oysters growing within the lease.

So, what can fishers do?
Don’t damage the farm
Modern oyster farms are fragile. If you’re fishing in or around a farm, ensure your vessel does not come in contact with any oyster farm infrastructure, including underwater ropes and cables. Never tie up or “park” your boat or kayak on an oyster farm.

Show respect for the oyster farmers by slowing down as you pass their farms, these areas are their workplaces. Boat wash can cause damage and can make work in the farms harder than it needs to be.

Use weedless lures and/or barbless hooks to minimise the chances of snagging up on oyster farm infrastructure. If you get snagged do all you can to retrieve the lure without causing damage. Lures and hooks left behind can cause a danger to oyster farm workers.

Say no to black market oysters
Criminals involved with organised large scale oyster theft, as well as smaller scale opportunistic thievery, cost the oyster industry big money and present a food safety risk. If you see any suspicious activity call the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536. 

Keep it clean
One of the biggest concerns for the oyster industry is water quality. Anglers can play a major role in ensuring our estuaries are clean and safe by avoiding using the waterway as a toilet.  Know the location of public toilets around the waterways you fish. Report any pollution to Roads and Maritime on 13 12 36.

Keep it safe
Fishing around semi-submerged structures like oyster farms poses obvious safety issues. Maximise your safety – as well as that of the oyster farmers – by avoiding all contact with farm infrastructure, slowing down, reducing wash and using weedless lures and barbless hooks. 

Boating safety gear update

Click poster to view details.

Ray Lonsdale, Boating Education Officer with NSW Roads & Maritime sent us this poster that summarises safety equipment requirements for NSW boaters. Ray also reminded us that his services as a Boating Education Officer are FREE and available to fishing clubs and the like. If you would like Ray to come along and present on Boating Safety, new regulation changes, general boating knowledge or any other aspects of Maritime please don’t hesitate to contact him on the details below.

Ray's email is, phone 0408 954 705.

New Sydney Loves Fishing website

There's a new website for Sydney Loves Fishing, with details of recent campaigns and of course the crowdfunding project started to fund the production of a video aimed at highlighting the sustainable recreational fishing resources in the Sydney region and for protecting recreational fishing access and rights on the coast around Sydney.

Fishers reminded to abide by Marine Park rules
NSW DPI has reminded fishers to abide by the rules when visiting the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park.

DPI Fisheries Compliance Director Pat Tully said more than 20 offences had been reported in the Marine Park in a recent six week period.

“It is disappointing to see that fishers are not abiding by the rules within the Marine Park,” he said.

“We’d prefer it if people followed the rules because it can be an expensive day out for fishers who are caught; infringement notices totalling $5600 were issued for those offences. The Marine Park’s rules have been in place for more than a decade, so fishers should be familiar with the rules that apply.”

Offences have included fishing and possession of fishing gear within sanctuary zones including Seal Rocks, contravening special rules within habitat protection zones and failing to pay the recreational fishing fee. Mr Tully said resources were available online to help fishers understand the zoning rules that apply to marine parks.

“Fishers can pick up a copy of the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park zoning map and user guide, available for download from the NSW Department of Primary Industries website,” he said.

NSW Marine Park Zoning Maps are available for smart phones and tablets via the Avenza PDF Maps app and the FishSmart mobile app and are free to download. The maps allow people to identify where they are in a marine park and what types of activities are permitted in each zone.

“Recreational fishers can now easily ensure they only fish in zones where fishing is permitted, and don't accidentally creep into sanctuary zones. The Avenza maps are stored locally on your device and phone reception isn't required to use them, making them ideal for offshore use,” Mr Tully said.

Geelong Star super trawler leaves Australian waters
The factory trawler has gone back to its old name - the Dirk Dirk, and its old Dutch flag and gone home. And according to its owners Parlevliet & Van der Plas BV it won't be back. They blamed its departure on a failure to reach a deal with Australian partners Seafish Tasmania. "The reason is that we cannot achieve a financial commercial agreement with the local partners in Australia," they said.

The departure came just a day before Labor and Greens members on a Senate committee delivered a report calling for a ban on factory freezer trawlers in the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery regions. Liberal Senators Jonathon Duniam and David Bushby dissented from the recommendations, and said the Government was "committed to maintaining a balanced and science-based approach to all decisions regarding access to Commonwealth fisheries".

In 2012 super trawlers were prohibited from fishing in Australian waters, but the ban only applied to vessels over 130 metres. The Geelong Star is 95 metres. During its operations there were repeated reports of deaths of protected species, including dolphins and fur seals.

The Senate Report, which focused on environmental, social and economic factors, also suggested that the Australian public had lost confidence in Commonwealth fisheries management. In the report the Labor and Greens committee members urged the Federal Government to appoint a National Recreational Fishing Council.

The Senate Report can be read at this link

Australian study finds that seismic surveys kill scallops
From the newsletter of the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association...

The University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and Curtin University’s Centre for Marine Science and Technology has investigated the effects of seismic survey acoustics on adult rock lobsters and scallops.

Seismic surveys are used to produce detailed images of local geology to determine the location and size of possible oil and gas reservoirs. Sound waves are bounced off underground rock formations and the waves that reflect back to the surface are captured by recording sensors for analysis later.

Important fishing grounds and areas of interest for oil and gas exploration overlap in south east Australia. In 2010, fishermen in Bass Strait reported the death of 24,000 tonnes of scallops worth $70 million after seismic testing carried out by the Victorian Government. The fishing industry is concerned about the potential of intense low frequency acoustic signals produced during these surveys to disturb, harm or even kill fisheries species.

The study used an industry standard seismic air gun in lobster and scallop habitat off Tasmania to simulate seismic testing undertaken by the oil and gas industry.  Following exposure, 302 lobsters, the majority of which were berried (egg bearing) females, and 560 scallops were sampled.  The lobster habitat used was a hard limestone reef which increased sound transmission losses compared to the sandy scallop site.

Seismic exposure did not result in any immediate lobster deaths but a range of other effects were observed. Lobsters exposed to the replicated seismic survey in summer showed a 32% decrease in the ability to extend their tails compared to control lobsters that were not exposed. This response persisted for 14 days after exposure, when exposed lobsters had a 23% decrease in the ability to maintain tail extension. The effects of stress in lobsters are known to be worse in warm water, which explains why this response was only observed in the experiment conducted in the summer. However, the duration of the inability to tail extend indicates that its cause cannot be explained simply by fatigue and the cause is more complex.  A lobster who cannot extend their tail may be less able to escape from a predator.

The second reflex affected in lobsters was the righting response – the time lobsters took to right themselves after being placed on their back.  Depending on season, righting time increased by 80-157%.  Most concerning was that in one experiment righting was slowed for 365 days.  Lobsters moult annually so the study concluded that the damage caused by seismic surveys may be permanent.  The study investigated an organ called the statocyst; a pair of fluid-filled sacs found at the base of the lobsters’ antennas. These organs are similar to the human inner ear, and are filled with sensory hair cells that detect gravity and body position.  After exposure to a seismic survey hair cells showed significant damage. Statistical analysis showed that this damage was correlated to slower righting time, with greater damage resulting in slower righting.

To evaluate whether exposure affected the development of lobster embryos following exposure early in embryonic development, the berried (egg-bearing) female lobsters were maintained until the eggs hatched. Hatched larvae were found to be unaffected in terms of egg development and the number of hatch larvae.

There was no immediate mortality of scallops exposed to simulated seismic surveys.  However, repeated exposure to air gun passes were found to significantly increase mortality.  Compared to control scallops, which were found to have a total mortality rate of 5% at day 120 post-exposure, exposed scallops showed mortality rates of 9%-11% for 1-pass treatment, 11%-16% for 2-pass treatment and 15%-20% for the 4-pass treatment.

Scallop behaviour was also altered by exposure to the seismic survey with a decrease in classic behaviours including positioning, mantle irrigation and swimming and the observation of a flinching behaviour.

As with lobsters the righting reflex was also significantly slower in exposed scallops. The ecological implications of these changes in behaviour and reflexes require further study, as they may have substantial impacts on the ability for scallops to cope with predators in the wild.

Given the compromised physiological condition of the exposed scallops following seismic surveys the study concluded it likely that scallops would have reduced tolerance to subsequent environmental, nutritional and pathological stressors. Further, that this impairment would result in increased mortality in time frames beyond those examined in the study.

Sydney Harbour Recreational Fishing Haven Facebook page

We know a few of you already follow the page at this link...but for those of you who don't, it's an interesting window into how good the fishing is in Sydney Harbour, and plenty of fishing information. Well worth following, nicely moderated and safe for kids.

Turd world water quality

In case you missed it, here's a link to read an email campaign we sent out a few weeks ago about the lack of prioritising water quality and its effect on public health, food safety and the marine environment on the Sydney coastline.

Community fishing and safety day for Chinese families  

Another weekend, another water safety community event for the RFA and our Safety Officer Malcolm Poole - 40 Chinese families registered with the Asian Women at Work network across Sydney attended this 27 November event at Gunnamatta Bay at Cronulla.

Water boating and fishing rules regulations and safety information were explained and shared during the day using the Chinese community translators. We also covered the new rock fishing safety rules for the Randwick Council rock platforms starting 1st December 2016.

Maritime Operation this weekend
Operation Boat Safe: Know the Rules will run from Saturday 26 November to Sunday 4 December, 2016 inclusive.

The key focus of Operation Boat Safe: Know the Rules is to ensure vessel operators are aware of the changes to the Marine Safety Regulations 2016 and to clarify any areas of concern. 

From 1 July 2016, the Marine Safety Regulations 2016 replaced the Marine Safety (General) Regulation 2009. Changes were also made to the Marine Safety Act 1998 (as of October 7, 2016). The changes to legislation have been designed to promote safety, reduce red tape and improve administrative efficiency. 

Changes include: 
a) Reforms to boat driving licensing, including streamlining licence classes and application requirements, simplifying the fee structure and the introduction of a 10-year boat licence 
b) Vessels no longer need to display a registration label or trade plate 
c) New lifejacket standards and simplified requirements for wearing lifejackets 
d) More rigorous safe distance and speed requirements 
e) Broader restrictions on bow riding 
f) Changes to some penalty levels and disqualification periods 

Old4New life jacket swaps...a bargain opportunity

When the Old4New program arrives in your district you can exchange your old life jacket for a modern style at a discounted price, and receive advice on life jacket care and service from experts on site. 

 A map including location directions of all upcoming visits is at this link.

 Got some questions about the Old4New program? Check out the FAQs at or visit for more details.

Expired flare disposal
Roads and Maritime Services is again running a program to help boaters dispose of expired flares, with mobile collections set up along the NSW coastline.
Flares signal that you are in trouble and provide a visible location for searching aircraft or vessels. Most flares have a use-by date of three years and they must be replaced before the expiry date. Penalties apply if you don't.

You can see the details by clicking here for NSW coast or here for the Sydney region.

Premium prizes up for grabs for Marine Rescue NSW supporters

Marine Rescue NSW has today launched its biggest fundraiser of the year, with $229,600 in prizes, including a 4WD, fishing boat, jet skis, luxury travel and VIP sports tickets. 

All proceeds from the Marine Rescue NSW Art Union go to the emergency service’s 45 volunteer units, which cover the entire NSW coastline from the Queensland border to Eden and inland on the Alpine Lakes and the Murray River, at Moama.

MRNSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said it was an excellent local cause.

“The money raised is essential to supporting our units’ life-saving operations, training and day-to-day expenses,” he said.

“Every cent that a unit raises from its ticket sales stays with that unit so ticket buyers know they are supporting their local volunteers and their work to protect boaters on their local waterways.

“The prizes are fantastic and the tickets are great value at three for just $5.”

The Marine Rescue NSW Art Union appeals to anyone with a sense of adventure:
1st: The lucky winner gets not only a Toyota Prado GXL 2.8L T Diesel Auto four wheel drive but also a Haines Signature 530SF(S) Boat to tow behind it. The vessel has a Suzuki 90HP motor VHF marine radio and safety kit. The boat and vehicle are valued at $118,251. 
2nd: A $25,000 Flight Centre gift card and $5,000 in spending money. The winner gets to choose whether to take one big dream holiday or several small trips.
3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th: Four winners each win four exclusive tickets to a private suite at Allianz Stadium for the Wallabies v Scotland rugby union match on June 17, 2017. Including $1,000 towards travel/accommodation, each prize is valued at $4,955. 
Bonus draw: As well as being in the running for these prizes, every ticket purchased is entered into an extra regional draw for six jet skis and trailers, each valued at $10,261.

MRNSW members will be selling tickets in their local communities throughout the boating season, ahead of the prize draw on May 30. 

Supporters of the state’s official volunteer marine search and rescue service can also buy tickets online at 

Online buyers get to nominate which local unit will receive the funds from their ticket purchase.

MRNSW receives generous financial support from the NSW Government and boating community through a levy on recreational boat licences and registrations but still relies on its volunteers’ dedicated fundraising efforts to help fund its vital safety services.

The Art Union is organised and run by MRNSW, ensuring all proceeds stay with the organisation. It will be drawn at Marine Rescue NSW Headquarters, at Cronulla, Sydney, at noon on May 30, 2017. 



Want to know where your licence money goes?
The latest summary of new projects recommended for funding from the Recreational Fishing Trusts is online at this link.

Crown road closure applications now ONLY online and in local papers

In August 2012 the NSW government started to clear a backlog of applications to convert Crown roads to freehold. This includes many 'paper roads' that could provide important fishing access to the public. Initially NSW DPI was monitoring the flow of applications and notifying angling groups including the RFA of any applications that could lead to loss of fishing access. However the number of applications has now increased dramatically and NSW DPI has stopped notifying angling groups due to lack of resources to cope with the avalanche. 

The NSW government launched an online service showing the applications at

The roads notices are searchable by date, locality and local government area. The information will remain online for the full 28 day submission period for each proposed road closure. The maps contain information to clearly identify which roads are being offered for sale and closure, without revealing the identity of landholders or applicants.

Anglers must monitor the website and their local newspapers (the only place the government is obliged to advertise proposed closures) so they find out about closures in their area. If you don’t watch this situation and quickly lodge objections when necessary you could lose valuable access to your favourite places.

Promote your fishing club or community fishing event
If you have a local fishing competition or a charity or community fishing event, we are always happy to give it some publicity in this newsletter.

The newsletter goes out around the 25th day of every month of the year, to over 4,000 subscribers. You don’t have to be a member of the RFA of NSW. About 100-200 words is OK, however roughly written, and we always like a picture.

Sign up for free weather alerts for coastal and inland waters
You can sign up for alerts for NSW coast and inland waters direct from Maritime at and you can set your own alert trigger conditions and choose which locations you want covered. Alerts are sent daily when wind conditions exceed the trigger points you specify. Easy, useful and free.

Who represents anglers?
We regularly get comments from anglers that they don't know who is on the advisory committees to the NSW government and that they don't know what issues are considered and decided by those committees. The information is on the web, but not always easy to find, so here are the links:

Recreational Fishing NSW Advisory Council

Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing minutes

Recreational Fishing Freshwater Trust Expenditure Committee members and minutes

Recreational Fishing Saltwater Trust Expenditure Committee members and minutes

Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW Facebook page

NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers Facebook page

RFA videos now on YouTube channel


The RFA of NSW now has a YouTube channel where all our safe fishing videos can be viewed. Go to to see the channel.

About the Recreational Fishing Alliance

The RFA is the peak recreational fishing body in NSW. It is a not-for-profit, volunteer organisation supported by recreational fishing clubs, associations and individual anglers.
The RFA's aims are:
 • To represent the interests of the recreational anglers of NSW and to gain equitable representation in the management of the State’s recreational fisheries.
 • To promote sustainable fishing practices throughout NSW.
 • To encourage the participation of children in recreational fishing.
 • To pursue and secure the rights of recreational anglers to fishing access in NSW waters.
 • To encourage recreational anglers to become involved in the well-being of the fishery.
 • To promote consultation and communication between government bodies and anglers.
 • To promote fishing safety.


Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.

NSW RecFisher is for all anglers in NSW. Subscription is free (click here). Please forward it to your angling mates and whoever produces your fishing club newsletter, they can use any news items they wish from this newsletter or from our Facebook page.

Fishing clubs
You can link to this email in your own newsletter. To get the link, go to the top of this email and click on 'View it in your browser'. The URL of the newsletter should then appear in the address bar of your internet browser. Cut and paste that complete address as a link to paste into your newsletter, Facebook page, etc.

Members of the RFA of NSW

Australian National Sportfishing Association (NSW Branch), Australian Underwater Federation, Canberra Fishing Club, Central Coast Association of Angling Clubs, Club Narooma Bowlo Fishing Club, New South Wales Council of Freshwater Anglers, New South Wales Fishing Clubs Association, New South Wales Underwater Skindivers and Fishermen’s Association, Professional Fishing Instructors and Guides Association and South West Anglers Association.

Fishing clubs can join the RFA of NSW for just $55 per year. Membership for individual anglers costs just $22 per year.
If you would like to join please download the membership form.
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'Don't put your life on the line' is a registered trademark of the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW Inc