Letter to the editor: Fishing for answers, fed on choking stats

If you enjoy a holiday on the NSW South Coast and fish as a family pastime, it is my sad duty to inform you that you have a politician in place who is overseeing the destruction of lake and estuary recreational fishing. 

My wife and I have seen the commercial netting of lakes and waterways around the Bermagui region pillage the fish stocks. I have written to Minister Niall Blair's department on several occasions, only to be hand-balled to a public servant who writes to me with a dazzling array of statistics and then tells me nothing is wrong with fish stocks.

The bureaucrat's minions, I'm sure, feel that feeding plebeians a choking array of stats will appease and befuddle. It is no wonder the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party is making headway against the National Party. 

Commercial netting is pillaging fish stocks on the NSW south coast, Marshall Pedder writes. Photo: Bryan Hanson

Commercial netting is pillaging fish stocks on the NSW south coast, Marshall Pedder writes. Photo: Bryan Hanson

There is nothing like first-hand experience to see how poor recreational fishing is in a waterway that is, in the words of fisheries officers, netted aggressively. 

I am amazed business on the South Coast is not up in arms. The depletion of the fish stocks must surely be harming tourism. I know of many of the local people who shake their heads at the site of a commercial fisherman laying nets across sanctuary and creek mouth.

It may appear trivial at first glance, but when you take your family on holiday and your children are left disappointed with their negative experience, it is left to you to explain why.

Do you ask yourself why you should have to pay a license fee for the negative result? Niall Blair reaps kudos by placing concrete artificial reefs off shore. How many of you mums and dads have the boats or money to experience this type of fishing? Most people have their kids on the bank or jetty using their basic fishing tackle.

Rest assured, what I have seen happening in the estuaries is going to leave your holiday break a disappointment. I am waiting for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers to take up the challenge and confront Niall Blair and ask him why NSW has fallen behind other states in protecting their lakes and estuaries for recreational sport.

Minister Blair is your member and you are in a good position to ask him to put aside the waffle and the statistics and tell you why he would allow a small body of water, and particularly those that hold sanctuaries, to be aggressively netted at all.

Marshall Pedder, Wodonga