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Alex's Fishing Column 7 May 2020

I was surprised to learn recently that it’s been 20 years since an up-to-date nationwide picture of the economic value of recreational fishing in Australia has been produced.

Back in 2000, recreational fishers spent $1.8 billion nationally on recreational-fishing-related expenditure – a significant figure.

However, we don’t know how much we are spending now, and that makes it hard to communicate the true value of recreational fishing to decision makers across Australia.

The last national survey found that there was a fisho in almost one in every four households in Australia.

However, since 2000, state-level surveys indicate more women are fishing, and that spending on fishing is likely to have changed a lot… and I’ll bet the number of fishos per household in the NT is higher than anywhere else in the country.

Since 2000, it’s also been recognised that fishing has many social benefits. Recreational fishing has been found to support wellbeing through increasing people’s connections with family and friends and with nature.

Fishing can be both relaxing and challenging – and both these things can be positive for our wellbeing.

Doing things that provide a challenge helps people increase their confidence in being able to overcome difficulty and achieve what they want to, while getting away from the everyday grind is critical for mental health.

However, while rec’ fishers know about these benefits on a personal level, and there are lots of studies that demonstrate the social benefits of recreational fishing on a small scale, to guide decision-making, there’s a need for a nationwide picture that shows the extent and types of social benefits generated by fishing.

It was brought to my attention that a very low percentage of NT fishos have completed the survey compared to elsewhere in Australia.

You can help generate up-to-date information that ensures the full social and economic benefits of recreational fishing are recorded and communicated to decision makers across Australia.

You can participate in the National Recreational Fishing Survey at

By doing so, you can help researchers at the University of Canberra and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences provide a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of recreational fishing in Australia.

Whether you fish once a year or every day of the year, it’s important your voice is heard in the survey.

As an incentive, there are great cash prizes to be won by those who complete the survey.


It’s back to big spring tides this weekend, and means some big barra will be caught at the coastal creeks in Chambers Bay.

Normally at this time of year, come the big tides, the coastal creeks east and west of the Mary River are crowded with professional fishing guides and their clients.

However, due to the Covid-19 border closures, no one from interstate has been able to come to the NT to fish the Runoff.

Clearly the fishing tour industry is bleeding because of the absence of interstate clients – and that is not good – but locals will have more access to the creeks than they’ve had in many years.

On the last big springs a fortnight ago, some magnificent barra were caught at the coastal creek mouths.

The fishing will take place early morning on both Saturday and Sunday, so you will need to be travelling in the dark to catch the high tide.

With easterly winds predicted, it’ll be a bit breezy travelling along the coast, but the bigger trailer boats will be right.

If you’re after an easy day trip, the tides aren’t too bad for a shot at a harbour barra or two.

Remember please that there can only be so many in a boat who can social distance 1.5m from each other.


Sam Gray with one of several beautiful metre barra he caught at Shady Camp last week.

Bretto Warren’s metre barra was caught casting on a surface lure.


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