Project number: 2006-057
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $115,564.00
Principal Investigator: Bill Sawynok
Organisation: Recfish Australia
Project start/end date: 30 May 2006 - 30 Jun 2008


Development of an environmental accreditation system for recreational fishing competitions is needed to promote the sustainability of recreational fishing and proactively address a number of issues which are beginning to be directed towards the industry. Catch and release fishing has become a cornerstone of sustainable recreational fisheries management in Australia, as evidenced by the support for national initiatives such as the FRDC National Strategy for the Survival of Released Line Caught Fish. In today's world, recreational fishing is under increasing pressure to promote sustainable and ethical fishing practices, and fishing competitions, by virtue of their high profile, must be used to promote such practices wherever possible, including releasing fish techniques.

The FRDC’s 2005-2010 R&D plan lists minimising animal welfare issues as a key strategic challenge for all industries. The proposed accreditation system will address this strategic challenge and reinforce outcomes from the National Strategy for the Survival of Released Line Caught Fish and the National Code of Practice for Recreational and Sportfishing. It is a proactive step towards combating threats to recreational fishing from animal welfare activists (who we predict are most likely to target fishing competitions first). Furthermore, increasing public liability insurance premiums are threatening the existence of smaller events and indirectly encouraging tournament organisers to increase the size of their competitions to help cover insurance costs. Development of an accreditation system opens up the opportunity to negotiate insurance discounts and other benefits for competitions which take part in the system, helping limit trends towards larger and larger competitions. Hence the overall driving force behind this initiative is the need for industry to take a proactive approach to confronting these issues before they threaten the viability of fishing competitions, and potentially, some aspects of recreational fishing in this country as a whole.


1. Develop a National Fishing Competition Accreditation system that is supported by competition organisers and sponsors, fishing industry groups, government fisheries agencies and other relevant entities.
2. Develop an ISO 14001 environmental standard for fishing competitions.
3. Negotiate with insurance companies over insurance for accredited competitions.
4. Trial the accreditation system in at least one high profile fishing competition in each State and trial the ISO standard in at least 1 high ranking competition.
5. Obtain endorsement of the accreditation system from key environmental groups.

Final report

ISBN: 0-9775165-5-5
Author: Bill Sawynok

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