by Carl Hyland
The state government has insisted it will not introduce a fee for recreational saltwater fishing despite commissioning an $18,800 feasibility study into licensing models.
Jodie Singline and Ryan Roberts try their hand at fishing. - The government has commissioned a study into licensing models.
Last month, the Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Department released a report by fisheries research consultant Sven Frijlink that examined various models for introducing a sea fishing licence.
The report, funded through the government's Fishwise Community Grant project, does not make any recommendations for changing the system.
But it is accompanied by a disclaimer that it may be further contemplated in regards to declining recreational licence and Fishwise revenues.
Opposition fisheries spokesman Rene Hidding said the government was crafting a revenue-raising scheme that would hit Tasmanian fishermen, `like a new tax'.
But a spokesman for Fisheries Minister Bryan Green said there were ``no plans whatsoever' to introduce a fee, and labelled Mr Hidding's remarks `speculative and inflammatory'.
Mr Hidding responded by questioning why the report, titled An Assessment of Licensing Arrangements for Tasmania's Marine Recreational Fisheries, was commissioned in the first place.
'The only reason is because they are looking at ways to raise money for a cash-strapped department,' he said.
St Helens Bait and Tackle owner Jamie Henderson said introducing a saltwater fishing licence would erode participation on the East Coast and across the state.
'You'd then see a flow-on effect to businesses such as my own, and the communities that we operate in,' he said.
Extracted from The Examiner Newspaper