Angler falls in line to meet regulations
By BREE PRICE
GREGG GALE treats fishing as more than just a hobby ? it's his sport.
The former Sydney man even moved to Lennox Head 14 months ago to retire and spend his days wetting a line.
But the 55-year-old is not concerned by new State Government conservation proposals to further limit what he can catch.
The Review of Recreational Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing, released by the Department of Primary Industries, has recommended anglers be limited to taking home 20 fish per outing. It has also been proposed flathead longer than 70cm be re- leased and that the legal lengths of luderick, Spanish mackerel and pearl perch be extended.
Mr Gale said he supported the changes as long as fishing clubs and anglers were consulted before any proposals were finalised.
"I think most fishermen have the point of view that you've got to look towards the future," he said.
"Nobody wants to destroy your sport or hobby. The majority (of fishers) have a conservation point of view."
Mr Gale said the Lennox Head Fishing Club already imposed strict limits on its members.
"Sometimes we have to throw back a legal-sized fish because the club won't weigh it in ? they have to be lon- ger than the legal limit," he said.
Northern Rivers Fisheries Conference chairman Ken Thurlow said all recreational fishers should reject the proposals. He described them as 'unnecessary, unjustified and unscientific'.
"No recreational species in NSW is overfished ? 99.9 per cent of recreational fishers in NSW are honest and fish sustainably," he said.
"If further regulations are required to reduce non-compliance, increase the penalties and target the responsible."
Public submissions on the proposals can be made until September 30. For a copy of the review visit www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au or call 1300 550474.