Push to exclude fishing competitions from new laws

Fishing enthusiasts have launched a petition calling on the Allan Labor Government to exempt recreational fishing competitions from its new animal welfare laws and regulations.

Sponsoring the parliamentary petition, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath said fishing competitions could come to an end with anglers and fishing comp organisers facing potential prosecution under Labor’s draft laws.

“Fishing competitions in our favourite waterways are under direct threat, with Labor’s proposed bill putting a well-known anti-fishing organisation in charge of prosecuting the proposed new laws,” said Ms Bath.

“This petition sends a strong message to the Allan Government that anglers are demanding that recreational fishing competitions be made exempt from its proposed Animal Care and Protection law and any associated regulations.”

The potential penalties under the new laws include $11, 539 for individuals and $57,693 for a body corporate.

Ms Bath said under Labor’s proposed new law, the RSPCA will be given enforcement powers to prosecute despite having no specific expertise in fishing.

“Through its Angling Policy, the RSPCA has for many years made it clear it’s opposed to recreational fishing.

“Pedalling myths that catching fish on a rod and reel is ‘cruel’ is pure nonsense.

“Fishing enthusiasts are right to be concerned by Labor’s draft legislation, the devil is in the detail and the detail here is severely lacking.

“The Nationals will continue to back recreational fishing, and recognise the significant contribution clubs, charters and small businesses involved in angling make to our community and economy.

“Recreational fishing has very few barriers, it’s enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities and has a positive impact on an individual’s mental wellbeing – it must be encouraged not restricted by an onerous state government.

“Standing with the fishing fraternity, I call on the Allan Government to commit to a guaranteed exemption for all angling competitions, charters and catch and release fishing – no if, buts or maybe.”

The petition can be signed at https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/get-involved/petitions/exempt-fishing-competitions-in-animal-care-and-protection-legislation/