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Motion - Trout Fishing in Tasmania

Private Member's Motion - Mr Duigan, Tuesday 22 March 2022

[11.57 a.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Madam Acting President, I am delighted to make a brief contribution to the member's motion, as there are many people in my electorate of Launceston for whom fishing is not just a hobby or a way to relax, but a way of life with strongly connected community.

We are truly blessed to be living in this part of the world and the access we have to pristine, stunning waterscapes gives us a unique opportunity for all sorts of fishing, ocean and inland and trout fishing in particular. As I understand it, nearly all Tasmanian rivers, streams and lakes hold trout. This means we must responsibly care for the environment inhabited by these fish, but also ensure people have fair, safe and equitable access to our incredible fishing areas. There are dozens of places where trout fishers can set up and fish, some on the roadside and some off the beaten track. This accessibility really widens the ability of many people to give fishing a try and for the more serious angler, to hone their skills.

I certainly acknowledge the Tasmanian trout fishery is and should be regarded as one of the best in the world and I state that as an objective matter of fact, not opinion. I also remember, as the member mentioned, when we had the world fishing championships here, he was not sure it gave the best impression of Tasmania, but I do recall them saying afterwards they had the most magnificent time and the weather really had not bothered them. I guess as many of them had come from Scotland and other areas they probably thought our weather was quite good. But maintaining this ought to continue to be a priority for this Government and those in the future.

The fishing communities are very tight-knit and very readily mobilised. I, like many other members here I am sure, received a decent amount of input from fishers in the north regarding the member for Nelson's motion regarding abalone fishing towards the end of last year.

Tasmanian fishermen are extremely dedicated to protecting their communities, our fishing environment, amenities and the way of life it represents. The way of life after all is about giving Tasmanians the right to access, experience and enjoy these extraordinarily beautiful features in our landscapes. It is about protecting the rights of individuals and grassroots fishing communities to their fair share of opportunities to fish. I certainly concur with the member's motion in urging the Tasmanian Government to continue its strategies to implement best practice recreational trout fishery management and the development of appropriate infrastructure, facilities and access to support the trout fishing experience for all Tasmanians.

To this end, I believe the Government should engage with fishing communities and angler organisations of all kinds to ensure their interests are fairly and meaningfully represented in the development of fishing infrastructure and facilities. I have recently had feedback from some in my constituency about fishing opportunities in the central highlands. Constituents who spend significant amounts of time year in and year out in the Central Highlands and Jonah Bay and Pumphouse Bay living at their demountable shacks, fishing and exploring the wilderness. This longstanding and committed group of fishers hold these traditions tight and are the ones whose opinions really matter when it comes to developing fishing areas.

While I will not go into detail here, I will ask questions of the honourable member. There is certainly concern regarding unavailability of licences for next year from August to May and whether overnight access will be available in the future. These are matters I have asked and will continue to follow up with the relevant minister.

Of course, we want to enhance access for everybody to fish in Tasmania. However, I would not want it to be at the expense of these longstanding, existing communities, whose patronage, job and care for Tasmanian fisheries have made it the sector it is today. That being said, I also acknowledge the significant economic and tourism benefits that the Tasmanian trout fishery has, and the opportunity it gives us to showcase the best of our state to the rest of the country and the rest of the world.

As with any other attractions for tourists, the money which goes into the fishing sector has a multiplier effect on our other sectors, including retail, hospitality and a myriad of others. Many of our regions rely heavily on the money that is brought in by local and visiting fishers alike. Supporting the responsible development of our fishing sector also supports these local communities, businesses and individuals.

There is no reason why we cannot responsibly grow and develop accessible Tasmanian fishing amenities and facilities to both Tasmanians and tourists alike. This does require really engaging with and listening to these communities and the members that comprise them.

Madam Acting President, I thank the member for Windermere for bringing on this motion and I would hope that in developing, not just trout fishery management, but also wider management of our aquaculture it is done responsibly, fairly and with the existing communities who use them in mind. Tasmanians should always come first when it comes to protecting and developing our fisheries.

With that said, I indicate my support to the member's motion.

Motion agreed to.


Mr DUIGAN (Windermere) - Mr President, I move the motion in my name, which reads:

That the Legislative Council:

(1) notes the importance of trout fishing as a way of life for thousands of Tasmanians;

(2) notes that the Tasmanian trout fishery is regarded as one of the best in the world;

(3) acknowledges the significant economic, tourism and social benefits for Tasmania and Tasmanians arising from the operation of the Tasmanian trout fishery; and

(4) urges the Tasmanian Government to continue its strategies to implement best practice recreational trout fishery management and the development of appropriate infrastructure, facilities and access to support the trout fishing experience for all Tasmanians.


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