The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and Environment Centre NT (ECNT) are calling for more emphasis on management and conservation of the Northern Territory's recreational fish species and their marine environments.
Adele Pedder, Northern Marine Campaigner for AMCS said "while there is a lot of talk about Barramundi and buy-back schemes, this is only one of many species targeted by Rec fishers"
"There are only so many fish in the sea yet both Labor and CLP election policies are emphasising the push for ever increasing recreational fishing".
"Fishers are already talking about the fact that in some areas you can't catch fish the way you used to because of decreasing numbers of fish. Natural systems and fish populations can only take so much. We may end up loving our fish to death".
"Recreational take is significant with conservative estimates suggesting the recreational harvest of snappers, jewfish and emperors alone is double the total commercial take for the coastal line fishery. Darwin Harbour is particularly vulnerable with more than a quarter of all NT recreational fishing effort occurring in the Darwin Area".
Peter Robertson, Campaigns Coordinator for ECNT said "To balance fish take with fish protection the pendulum must swing towards management and conservation or we may end up in a situation of locally depleted populations and fights over the last few fish.
Ms Pedder concluded "Evidence from other areas is very strong showing that if we don't act early ensuring adequate protection and management, fish populations will decline. We have a chance to protect our marine environments here in the Territory if we do things right".
"We call on both major parties to outline how they will protect and sustain our fish populations and their habitat - the marine environment"
Adele Pedder (AMCS) 0422 108 539
Peter Robertson (ECNT) 0409 0890 20