|Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland Incorporated.|
FFSAQ Inc. is the peak body representing freshwater
fishing and stocking associations throughout Queensland. i
The Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland Inc., more commonly known as FFSAQ, is the peak body representing fish stocking groups and freshwater fishing clubs throughout Queensland. A major component of FFSAQ's role is also to have input into habitat restoration and riverine conservation.
In 1986 the Queensland Government established the Recreational Fishing Enhancement Programme under the auspices of DPI Fisheries. The programme was initially funded $1M per year for a three year period, and encompassed both freshwater and saltwater fisheries. A significant portion of the funding was allocated to stocking freshwater impoundments, and to a lesser extent rivers and creeks. Part of the structure was for DPI Fisheries, co-jointly with the then called Water Resources Commission, (now DNR-SunWater) to create community based fish stocking groups in the locality of these impoundments, and other waterways. These local groups comprised of representatives of Shire Councils , Service Clubs, fishing clubs, and community members of the area. To be part of the programme, the local stocking group had to be registered with DPI Fisheries to be eligible as a participant in the scheme. In a small number of cases, some impoundments owned and operated by Area Water Boards and Local Government instrumentalities (Councils), were also deemed to partake in the programme. Official agreements were drawn up between DPI Fisheries, the impoundment owner and the local fish stocking group. Only one fish stocking group was allotted to any one water storage.
Initially, as part of the Recreational Fishing Enhancement Programme, DPI Fisheries conducted two annual Fish Stocking Workshops, one in northern Queensland and the other in southern Queensland, to which all participating stocking groups were invited to attend. The purpose of the workshops was to liaise with groups and their members over issues relating to enhancing the freshwater fishery. DPI Fisheries also used the forum to announce and promote particular projects relating to freshwater. Today however, the workshops are regionalized across the State into 6 separate forums based on geographical aspects and species stocked. These workshops are very important events as it allows politicians, government officers of DPI Fisheries, DNR etc, hatchery operators, and fish stocking members to get together, and discuss the issues that relate to the freshwater sector of which they all have some responsibility and obligation.
The FFSAQ Management Committee is made up of representatives from stocking groups and fishing clubs throughout the state, who are affiliated with FFSAQ. Members are nominated by their own group, or nominated from the floor at its Annual General Meeting. FFSAQ Inc, is a legal identity, being incorporated under the Queensland Associations Incorporation Act.
Primarily, FFSAQ's role is to service the stocking groups and fishing clubs with an objective to enhance the impoundment fishery, and to rehabilitate and maintain our wild fishery. FFSAQ is an intermediary between the community and Government, and deals in the main with issues of a state nature on behalf of stocking groups.. Stocking groups and fishing clubs address more localized issues. FFSAQ itself, does not engage in any actual fish stocking activity, this is undertaken by the regional stocking groups. It is emphasised that impoundments are "put and take" fisheries. There is some misconception amongst anglers that most of the fingerlings stocked will eventually reproduce and establish a natural and self-sustaining population. This is far from reality. In the main, most of the species stocked, will not reproduce in manmade impoundments. As such, the annual project of releasing fingerlings is one that is required year after year. It is quite a demanding and expensive exercise. FFSAQ undertakes an advisory role to stocking groups, and acts on their behalf whenever necessary. As such it compliments any action of individual stocking groups. The importance of a united and uniform approach is mandatory when dealing with government agencies regarding freshwater fishery matters. The major objective of the stocking groups is to stock fingerlings, however, FFSAQ has a judiciary role over the wider aspect of monitoring, maintaining, and enhancing both the impoundments and natural waterways. As mentioned earlier, no one else was adequately considering our natural waterways, so FFSAQ has taken on this task. It is now a considerable part of it's agenda.
FFSAQ has now an ongoing and increasing dialogue with both the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, and the Parliamentary arm of Government. In earlier days, some government officers would query who FFSAQ was. Today, there would be very few, if any, in Government departments with an interest in fisheries, who would not be aware of the existence of FFSAQ, and who they are. FFSAQ has a good standing with government agencies, and is seen as a creditable and responsible organization with a vision to sustain and enhance our freshwater fishery. This is not to say that all its dealing and negotiations have been totally amicable. Where necessary, FFSAQ has and will continue to present its case quite strongly to resolve certain issues that, in our opinion, are paramount to the betterment of the fishery. At times, this has caused some friction, but it is felt that FFSAQ has always been responsible in it's approach. It is important to maintain a good line of communication with government agencies.
FFSAQ is a full member of SUNFISH Queensland with direct representation by being a member on its State Management Committee. SUNFISH is the peak recreational fishing body in Queensland. A number of FFSAQ members are also actively involved with Queensland ANSA ( Australian National Sportfishing Association ). By being associated with both these organizations and others, can only augment the future of freshwater fishing. FFSAQ also has a meaningful and close working relationship with the Queensland Conservation Council.
The role of FFSAQ is a major component in the enhancement and sustainability of our freshwater fishery. The State Government and it's agencies must be commended for their continuing endorsement of the Recreational Fishing Enhancement Programme. This programme has stimulated and contributed enormously to the fishery as we know it today. Equally however, has been the dedication and commitment of the mostly small and local community based stocking groups and fishing clubs. Without the involvement of these groups, this fishery would not exist. FFSAQ, in conjunction with its affiliated stocking groups, has reason to be proud of its achievements. The fishery of today has developed a considerable recreational opportunity that previously was non-existent to freshwater anglers. The tourist opportunity is just starting to be identified. The potential of this "industry" is unlimited. It is hoped that by FFSAQ playing a leading role in conjunction with the Queensland Government and its agencies, this potential can be fulfilled by creating a fishery that will be the envy of all.