Despair for anglers as big dams gulp unfair share of funding
CHANGES to the allocation of government funds raised through fishing permits have threatened the existence of a Warwick group charged with keeping local waterways stocked with fish.
Members of the Warwick Fish Stocking Association were concerned a potential 60 per cent decrease in funding would make their efforts infeasible.
"There were early concerns from some members that we may lose up to $20,000," secretary-treasurer Ed Kemp said.
While funding amounts are confidential and yet to be finalised, the association expects it will suffer a significant decrease in funding.
The new Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS) funding procedure takes all but the fishing rod out of anglers' hands.
Not so long ago, anglers were able to nominate where their permit money would be allocated.
"Fisheries in Brisbane now completely controls where our money goes," Mr Kemp said.
He said the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries was allocating more funds to stock bigger dams, such as the Burdekin Dam in North Queensland, and Fairbairn Dam in Central Queensland.
"They are trying to build up the (fish) numbers but there aren't many people that fish in these dams," he said.
Mr Kemp said anglers were reliant on the SIPS scheme but the new process took away control from fishers.
"It's just when governments see a big pool of money, they think they can take the money and use it for something else."
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries was unavailable for comment.
The money allocated under the SIPS scheme allows the Warwick Fish Stocking Association to buy and release fish such as Murray cod into designated dams, weirs and catchment areas around the Southern Downs.
At the club AGM on Sunday, members discussed the possibility of breeding Murray cod in Leslie Dam to cut down on costs.
As of 2018, there are 23 new stock impoundment areas in the region, bringing the total to 47.
Anglers must obtain a permit to fish in these areas.
Mr Kemp said the fish stocking club had 123 members last year, only one down from the previous year which was a "good result" in the current economic circumstances.
"It is still only $10 to join the club, it's been this price since 1987."