Fears greyhound ban could lead to target on fishing

THE GREYHOUND ban should serve as the catalyst for a movement away from recreational fishing, animal rights activists have said.
But there are fears a prohibition on recreational fishing would cost the Riverina millions of dollars a year in lost revenue from competitions and fishing merchandise.
Anglers for Fish Habitat assistant chairman Nick Brunyee said any ban on recreational fishing would be far more catastrophic to the region than the greyhound ban.
“We’ve got three large fishing tackle shops, recreational fishing and recreational boating obviously goes hand in hand,” he said.
“The other side effects from recreational fishing is tournaments, there’s all the fishing tackle itself- the industry is just huge.”
But animal rights activist Mike O’Shaughnessy has likened recreational fishing to baiting and hooking magpies in Memorial Gardens.
There needs to be a cultural shift in views about how much pain was felt by fish, even when caught and then released, he said.
“They are treated like floating vegetables at the moment,” Mr O’Shaughnessy said.
“When you understand that they do feel pain and have complex lives and memories and work cooperatively to hunt you can see they are just like any other animal.”
Wagga Marine owner Craig Harris said there was concern in the industry over a possible push for a ban.
“The economy would suffer quite dramatically,” he said. “It would be a huge detriment to the Australian economy, not just the Riverina’s economy.”
The Daily Advertiser fishing columnist said while fish may feel pain there was evidence that it was short-lived and was well-mitigated by catch and release and cradling techniques. 
Animal Justice Party member and MLC Mark Pearson said he was against fishing for sport. “If there was every an inquiry into recreational fishing, like there was into recreational duck hunting which brought about the ban on duck hunting in 1996, then of course there are quite a few experts that say fish are sentient and are capable of feeling a great deal,” he said.


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