The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO: My question is to the Minister for Fisheries. What action has been taken to improve recreational fishing on the mid North Coast?
The Hon. EDDIE OBEID: I thank the Hon. Amanda Fazio for her question and commend her for her continuing interest in recreational fishing. The New South Wales Government is currently in the process of creating recreational fishing havens to make sure we share this community resource between recreational and commercial fishers. Creating recreational fishing havens is one way of giving anglers access to better fishing. Last week I visited the mid North Coast to announce five new recreational fishing havens. This will mean that commercial fishing will be banned in the whole of the Bellinger and Hastings rivers as well as Deep Creek. Commercial fishing will cease also in part of the Manning River downstream from Ghinni Ghinni and Berady creeks, including Scotts Creek, and in parts of the Camden Haven River from Dunbogan Bridge and North Haven Bridge, including Gogleys Lagoon.
These new recreational fishing havens were created after extensive community consultation. By late 2002 no commercial fishing will be permitted to operate in these new recreational fishing havens. Approximately 40 commercial fishers on the mid North Coast will need to be bought out. However, 80 commercial fishers from this area have already indicated an interest in being bought out. Given that double the numbers of commercial fishers from this area have indicated interest in leaving the industry, it is unlikely there will be any compulsory buybacks. The angler expenditure committee has already approved $4.2 million from recreational licences, and this money will be used to buy out these commercial fishers.
The New South Wales Government will ensure these commercial fishers receive fair compensation. The creation of these new recreational fishing havens means New South Wales anglers will soon have 29 havens specifically for better recreational fishing. These include Lake Macquarie and Botany Bay, parts of the Tweed and Richmond rivers, St Georges Basin, Tuross Lakes, Bega and Bermagui rivers and 16 other waterways along the South Coast. These latest changes will not affect our seafood supply because less than 0.3 per cent of the State's seafood consumption comes from these estuaries on the mid North Coast.
The new angling havens are the direct result of the New South Wales Government working with the community to create better recreational fishing. We have listened to the wishes of the community and have responded with a practical and effective solution to sharing our fish. It is estimated that every year more than 260,000 anglers fish in the mid North Coast, contributing more than $16 million a year, which supports local businesses. I look forward to updating the House about future developments in our efforts to create better recreational fishing.