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Alex's Column 13/04/2023

There are just five days remaining if you want to have a say on the future of NT recreational fishing for the next 10 years.

NT recreational fishermen can view and comment on the draft Recreational Fishing Development Plan for 2023-2033.

The latest National Recreational Fishing Survey shows 35% of NT residents go fishing and that recreational fishing generates $270 million to the Territory economy through direct and indirect flow-on expenditure.

To guide the recreational fishing sector over the next decade, a consultation draft of the Recreational Fishing Development Plan 2023-2033 has been developed.

To view the draft and provide feedback, visit . The draft plan is open to public feedback until 18 April 2023.

The first set of actions towards the RFDP outcomes are being developed in collaboration with leaders in the Territory’s recreational fishing sector, primarily the Amateur Fishermen’s Association NT and the NT Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee, but also other organisations, groups and individuals.

As part of the current public comment period, the input of the Territory’s broader recreational fishing community is being sought to provide ideas about the kinds of actions that could help to progress towards the RFDP outcomes, and explore how members of the Territory’s recreational fishing community would like to be involved in those actions.

A myriad of factors and desired outcomes impacting on the future of NT recreational fishing have been identified through a comprehensive consultation and engagement program.

This included 250 recreational fisher interviews and surveys at boat ramps, fishing platforms, tackle shops and online, six full-day workshops involving approximately 60 leaders and champions across organisations in the Territory’s recreational fishing sector and other related areas, three smaller RFDP working group sessions and two Recreational Fishing Advisory committee meetings.

The draft Recreational Fishing Development Plan is surprisingly concise, offering compelling reading for those interested in the social, economic, cultural, health and wellbeing of our major recreational fishery, and the opportunity to have an impact at a personal level.

Please do yourself and our recreational fishery a favour by taking the time to read and comment on the draft plan at


The Darwin Game Fishing Club’s annual Dundee Billfish Bash will once again focus on family fishing fun, with the emphasis on junior anglers who will be competing for

some fantastic prizes.

Tournament co-ordinator, Peter Dienhoff said: “This is a tag-and-release competition with a minimum line class of 10kg and a maximum of 60kg.

“As the Billfish Bash is not sanctioned by the Northern Territory Game Fishing Association, the rules regarding hooking of fish and control of the rod can be waived for juniors ONLY. “Teams are permitted to help small children to hook their fish and assist in the fight, but the junior must wind the reel with the fish hooked,” Peter said.

The two-day tournament is run over the weekend of 22-23 April from Dundee Beach.

Entry is $40 per adult and $20 per junior, or a family entry for $100.

Briefing night for the Tournament is at the Darwin Trailer Boat Club on Tuesday 18 April at 6.30pm sharp.

Peter said that the competition coincides with the first round of the 2023 Penn Top End Billfish Series.

“The combination of the two tournaments over the weekend ensures both experienced and inexperienced anglers will be having a crack at the prolific billfish waters off Dundee Beach,” he explained.

“Holding the Dundee Billfish Bash in April gives the growing number of billfish anglers their first chance in the Equinox period when the wet season transcends into the dry season.

“This Equinox period generally runs from April to May before the strong south-easterly airflow kicks in for our dry season conditions.

“After enjoying some records rains in late February/early March, the fish-rich waters off the coast from Dundee Beach will be further enhanced by rich nutrients pouring out the river mouths.

“This particular period has seen Fogg Bay commercially fished for banana prawns for as long as I can remember.

“Although the prawn trawlers generally work at night, many a billfish has been caught in close proximity to them, feeding from the trawlers’ bycatch which is discarded overboard. “This to me demonstrates the healthy food chain that is evident off the coast of Dundee at this time of the year.

“The nutrients from the rivers feed the prawns, sardines and tuna, signalling the start of the pelagic onslaught combined with the outstanding reef fishing on offer.

“If the stats from previous tournaments are anything to go by, this year's Dundee Billfish Bash should be a cracker,” Peter said.

For further information on the Dundee Billfish Bash email or visit the Facebook page for the Darwin Game Fishing Club

Entry Forms are now available from major tackle stores.

Nate and Elle Saunders, picture with their dad Douglas, certainly have the genes for becoming established billfish anglers in the NT… their Game Fishing Association of Australia trophy is for their contribution to the billfish tagging program and becoming

State Champions Under 11 - male and female.


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