When Will We Fish Again?

That’s the big question as we enter the 6th week of no fishing and boating in Victoria.

We wanted to update you on some developments that we believe may have a big influence on the possible resumption in fishing and boating in Victoria. We want to thank all the fishers that have got in contact with VRFish about the issue to express their views and concerns. We know the level of frustration and uncertainty is growing. Equally, we want to take the time to report back to you on our representation to Government.

On May 1, the National Cabinet on endorsed something called the National Principles for Sport and Recreation Activities. You may have missed it given the mainstream media’s reporting focusing on when and if the AFL and NRL will resume.

For us fishos in Victoria it provides expertise-based advice on the safe and phased resumption of community sport and recreational activities, including fishing. In the first phase, it suggests small groups (less than 10) and be in a non-contact fashion. It also states that “international evidence to date suggest outdoor activities are at a lower risk”.

That’s three big ticks for fishing which is important. The Victorian Government’s position throughout the successful response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been to follow expert health advice.

It will be the responsibility of each state and territory based on health advice how and when it decides to progress through the phases. In our reading, fishing should be first on the list in Victoria noting that other Australian states have already eased restrictions last weekend.

Why hasn’t the Victorian Government already relaxed restrictions to fishing and boating?

We have written again to the Minister for Fishing and Boating this week to request a pathway for resuming fishing and boating in a safe and responsible manner. We are still unclear what this could look like but we wanted to reassure Government that we are eager to work with them to mitigate any further risks – if there are any? If it means promoting the download of the Covid -19 tracing app, then we will eagerly do so.

Another possible piece of the puzzle looks to occurring this Friday (May 8). This is when the National Cabinet meets again to review the initial baseline restrictions that have been in place for the last 6 weeks. Following a positive outcome at this meeting, the Victorian Government should have a range of expert advice to make a call on where fishing and boating sits in the next adoptive phase of the Covid-19 response.

The current State of Emergency in Victoria concludes on May 11. We expect an announcement from the Victorian Government outlining what the new set of eased Covid-19 restrictions will be. Updated: This announcement is now expected on Monday May 11.

VRFish has taken the opportunity write to Premier Andrews to remind him how important recreational fishing and boating is to Victoria and that our restrictions must be eased in line with re-opening a Covid-safe Australia and economy.

As far as we are concerned, everything is place for easing restrictions for fishing and boating. We wait with bated breath whether fishing and boating gets a green light with impending announcements. Watch this space.

Finally, you should be congratulated for playing your part and working together to tackle this virus.

Related Information:

9 May – Letter to Premier Andrews – Easing Fishing and Boating Restrictions in Victoria

4 May – Letter to Minister Pulford – National Principles for Sport and Recreation Activities – Resumption of Fishing and Boating in Victoria

20 April – Letter to Minister Pulford – Safe and Responsible Relaxing of Covid-19 Restrictions Relating to Fishing and Boating

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