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Lakes Fail To Lure Big Fish


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Lakes fail to lure big fish

AUSTRALIA'S longest-serving fly-fishing guide says Tasmania's $60 million a year niche freshwater fishing industry is under threat because of State Government inaction.

Ken Orr, who has operated Tasmanian Trout Expeditions from Brady's Lake for the past 30 years, said the condition of the Marlborough Highway and the lack of rubbish removal services in the Central Highlands were deterring visitors.

Mr Orr said a reduction in Tourism Tasmania promotion and the deteriorating condition of Little Pine Lagoon were also affecting the industry.

In 2005-06 Tasmania sold 28,121 angling licences and of those 405 were sold to international anglers, including 114 to Americans.

Mr Orr said although figures were not yet available for 2006-07, guides had noticed a drop-off.

"The State Government is letting us down," Mr Orr said.

"The Marlborough Highway between Bronte Park and Miena is a danger to locals and potentially lethal for tourists.

"Tourists are terrified of driving on that road, and because it isn't sealed those with hire cars are either not allowed to use the road or have to pay extra insurance."

A State Government decision to close the Brady's Lake tip was also creating a rubbish problem.

He said Central Highlands tourism operators were spending millions on developments and were disappointed the Government wasn't doing more to help lure overseas anglers.

"The State Government used to have someone on the ground in Japan and in California marketing the state," he said.

"Those people are no longer there and we believe we are losing out in niche areas because there are not the people out in the field promoting the state."

Anglers Alliance Tasmania executive officer Richard Dax agreed the potential of Tasmania's freshwater fisheries was not being realised.

"Tasmania's niche freshwater fishing industry brings in $60million a year in spending alone," Mr Dax said.

"The real value of the industry is much higher and we also know that if we attracted an additional 3000 people a year that would bring an additional $15 million for the state.

"Yet there has been little or no growth. For the past decade Tasmania has been attracting between 4000 and 6000 non-resident anglers a year.

"In contrast. New Zealand attracts more than 30,000 non-resident anglers a year."

Mr Dax said although the condition of the Marlborough Highway was deterring visitors, there were many other reasons for the stagnation of the industry.

"A lack of strategic direction, tension between the needs of visiting and local anglers, under-investment by government and a lack of a cohesive, long-term marketing plan have all contributed to this less than satisfactory result," he said.

Mr Dax said he was hopeful a recently completed Recreational Fishing Development Plan would be implemented with a whole-of-government approach.

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