Looking back: NT fishing reports starting from January 1999

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Matt Flynn
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Looking back: NT fishing reports starting from January 1999

Post by Matt Flynn » Tue Jul 06, 2021 11:06 am

This old NT fishing report may be of interest ... more to follow.

Matt Flynn's reports, January 23, 1999

A friend from south said this week that while the success of two private secure boat ramps in the Territory was gratifying, it was a shame that some public ramps were shunned because of theft from cars.
We discussed possible schemes to stop the theft and vandalism problems, and the simplest idea we could come up with was to have an official paid attendant at problem ramps.
The position would be self-funded as boat users would pay (for example) $2 to have their car and trailer watched by the attendant, who would also be responsible for keeping boat ramp carparks free of rubbish.
On a weekend at, for example Buffalo Creek, that would be a reasonable earner.
Of course, nothing is ever that simple.
Some people might refuse to pay the $2 fee for launching.
And week days would see fewer boats, making the operational marginal for the attendant.
Perhaps the Government could offer a small subsidy, or retainer for six-days-a-week attendance at the most popular ramps.
This would require little infrastructure _ perhaps a public toilet would be needed.
I know my friend's own solution is to leave his car unlocked and with no valuables inside, which usually avoids the damage done when the thieves smash windows or jimmy locks to break in, but then he risks losing the car to a car thief.
I would certainly be interested in other ideas.

*The Shoal Bay prawn farm proposal was outlined in detail at a public meeting on Friday.
The meeting was told an environmental report on the proposal would be released next Friday.
The environmental report is what everyone is waiting for, and you will be able to read a summary of it here as soon as it is available.

*Here's a new angle on prawn farming that might catch your interest.
The prawns pictured are giant tiger prawns, or leader prawns, and they are found off the Territory coast, at times in shallow water.
In fact these big prawns are caught in just a few feet of water near creek mouths and foreshores along the Queensland coast.
The species is what prawn farms are growing for the seafood market, although this story has little to do with the Howard River prawn farm proposal currently in the news.
NT fisheries are trying to locate brood stock leader prawns for spawning purposes, to seed prawn farms around the country.
The prawns are caught by our northern prawn trawling fleet, but irregularly, and because they are caught using standard trawling techniques, the prawns are usually exhausted and dying by the time they are brought in to the boat.
Fisheries researcher Damian White is trying to identify where the prawns congregate so that specific trawling techniques can be used to catch these prawns in good condition, so they can subsequently be used as breeders.
Apparently there may even be room for a new type of fishing licence if someone can identify ways of harvesting these live prawns.
Damian also suggested that live milkfish might be a market for an enterprising (licenced) Territory fishermen, as the price for a live broodstock fish was at $1500 in Asia at one stage.
One milkfish can seed several farms, apparently.
Incidentally, Damian says the prawn shortfall in the United States is $2.4 billion annually.
That's what the seafood traders think they could sell if they could get them.
That's why recreational fishermen, who provide an economic benefit that is real but difficult to quantify, are going to face an ever-multiplying number of prawn farm proposals.
So if you know where these prawns live, and you can catch them live, you could sell them for up to $150 each ... if you manage to get a DPIF licence.

*The NT DPIF has released a draft plan for recreational fishing, and it's a document in which fishermen should take interest. Regional public meetings will be held for the fishing industry to discuss the plan with senior fisheries staff.



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Re: Looking back: NT fishing reports starting from January 1999

Post by theodosius » Tue Jul 06, 2021 11:11 pm

Still no milkfish farm...

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Re: Looking back: NT fishing reports starting from January 1999

Post by ronje » Wed Jul 07, 2021 5:14 am

Maybe AFANT has sufficient govt funds squirreled away to assist in some meaningful way.
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Re: Looking back: NT fishing reports starting from January 1999

Post by ronje » Wed Jul 07, 2021 5:16 am

..............................
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Re: Looking back: NT fishing reports starting from January 1999

Post by theodosius » Wed Jul 07, 2021 7:44 pm

Lol for someone interstate you've got a real fixation with AFANT mate

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Re: Looking back: NT fishing reports starting from January 1999

Post by ronje » Thu Jul 08, 2021 7:24 am

Not a fixation, mate. Justifiable scepticism.

Used to fish the Roper/Daly (mainly Roper) annually so became a member of AFANT. The right thing to do for regular visitor/s. Support the local organisations.

Reading the AFANT annual financial reports, I discovered (mid-2000s) that AFANT was sitting on hundreds of thousands of $ given to it by the NT govt. Still is (probably more now). Just squirreling it away not using it for members benefit. Have a look at the financial reports. Would have to be approaching $400,000 in cash reserves by now.

Related events involving AFANT

In the early 2000s, it was the then CEO of AFANT who (following discussions with an organisation calling itself RecFish) took the NT Govt funding model to form Rec-Fish Aust down south. Originally and temporarily in Brisbane from memory and later shifted further south.

Wanted fed govt funding to become the representative voice of recreational fishing Aus wide.

Started seeking (and getting) federal govt FRDC grant money. Spending taxpayer money like a drunken sailor. Fed Govt also funded Rec-Fish admin costs (they were plenty) for 2 years by the end of which time Rec-Fish had to become self reliant.

So Rec-Fish proposed a federal tax levy (Aus wide) on recreational fishing eqpt as the mechanism for that self reliance.

They wanted the Fed Govt to introduce a new tax as part of a federal election campaign. Not a chance in hell of the Fed govt (it was the libs at the time but no govt of any political persuasion was going along with that).

Fed govt at that point, dumped Rec-Fish.

Management board of Rec-Fish deserted leaving it high and dry with no money, no govt support and no prospects. Retreated to WA as Rec-Fish West? Still going as I understand it. Did a deal with WA govt for funding.

The structure, funding and admin model by AFANT (along with discussions between AFANT and Rec-Fish) was the catalyst for the Rec-Fish debacle at considerable cost to the rest of Aust taxpayers.

As a member of AFANT, you'll have access to the annual financial reports. Have a look at the cash reserves. Still squirreling?

The NT Govt (apart from the annual admin money) also separately gives AFANT small amounts of grant money (peanuts) under the annual budget for annual distribution with accompanying fanfare.
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Ronje

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Re: Looking back: NT fishing reports starting from January 1999

Post by Matt Flynn » Thu Jul 08, 2021 7:39 pm

Would have to be approaching $400,000 in cash reserves by now.
Nice to know there has been $400,000 of government-gifted cash sitting in AFANT's coffers when NT Fisheries can't advertise in North Australian Fishing and Outdoors Magazine because "no budget".

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Re: Looking back: NT fishing reports starting from January 1999

Post by ronje » Fri Jul 09, 2021 6:09 am

It goes a bit further than that outlined above.

I asked "why is AFFANT sitting on large amounts of cash reserves" on here about the time that the Rec-Fish Aust adventure started. I was a member of AFANT at the time so felt it OK to ask the question. There was never any answer from AFANT.

My initial thought was that it was a way for the NT Govt to keep onside with the fishing public by the handing out of piddling little annual grants from specific NT Govt budget items via AFANT. Those annual grants (as piddling as they were and probably still are) did not come from the admin grant money.

To give an indication of the amounts involved, operating costs of AFANT were sufficient to annually fund 2 staff, office, vehicle, travel, superannuation etc. Quite generous and apparently indexed annually.

That was about 10-12 years ago.

The "admin grant money" was in excess of those operating costs and excess was not returned to the NT Govt. It was squirreled away as annual increases in "cash reserves" in the annual financial reports.

If those financial arrangements have been maintained at that level, the NT Govt could stop funding AFANT today and it could maintain business as usual as a pre-paid friend of Govt decisions on fishing issues for 4-5 years.

Basically, whatever cosy arrangements AFANT and the NT Govt gets up to are no concern of mine (being from Qld) but while I was paying an annual membership fee, I did ask.

However (when the Rec-Fish Aus adventure started up), it became my business (considering the example of the generous NT Govt funding arrangements recommended to be applied to RecFish by the then CEO of Rec-Fish and immediate ex-member of AFANT management) and that of every Aus taxpayer.

The Rec-Fish Aus adventure was grab for exclusive funding and influence in relation to recreation fishing throughout Australia.

So much so, that I had a telephone hookup with the Federal Govt's Minister for Fisheries who were supplying the FRDC with funds being handed out to (and splashed around by) Rec-Fish. Eric Abetz from memory.

His reply about Rec-Fish's desire for the fed govt (in the run-up to a federal election)to introduce a levy (a new tax) on all recreational fishing sales was "not on my watch".

True to his word, within a week the funding rug was pulled and RecFish collapsed.

Something else that came about as a result of my asking about the AFANT/NT Govt funding, was a contact from a candidate in the then current NT election campaign who had been thinking along the same lines (2008 or 2012 NT election. Maybe 2008?). That candidate was seeking input for the campaign about the apparent largesse of the NT Govt towards AFANT. Buying votes was the way the candidate talked.

Didn't give them the $ amounts info I had but invited them to look at AFANT's financial books for themselves which were publicly available at that time.

Economic times are much tougher now so I reckon the issue will crop up in the political cost-cutting arena before long.
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Ronje

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