Thursday 18 November 2010
Hansard of the Legislative Council
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Madam President, today I am going to
talk about recreational fishing, or subsistence fishing as
it was in the early days of European settlement in Tasmania.
It has always had an important place in our culture and in
our hearts as well. The early European settlers came close
to starvation during the first decade from 1804. Few supplies
came from England, and the early administration relied on
buying in wallaby meat for the government store. James Boyce
explains this very well in a book called Van Diemen's Land,
a new explanation of our early history published in 2008.
Wallaby meat and a few early crops were vital to the establishment
of European settlement in those early days.
Mr Parkinson - They were not very good fishermen.
Mr FINCH - There were not only those supplies but also the
products of the estuary and the sea. Imagine those early settlers
coming out here and having abalone, scallops, crayfish - yummo
- and of course innumerable coastal fish from flathead to
Mr Aird - What does 'yummo' look like?
Mr FINCH - Yummo! That is what it looks like.
Madam PRESIDENT - If you allow honourable members to bait
you, your time will be less.
Mr FINCH - Both indigenous Tasmanians and later settlers have
always fished around our coasts. Fishing, of course, is not
as important for our survival now, but it is ingrained. It
is ingrained so deeply that it is always in the top three
or so of recreational pursuits. For some it is almost an obsessional
love. I can see a glint in the eye of the honourable Leader
over there as I talk about this. Some of us now use fishing
as an excuse to get away to commune with nature. Some of us
are not very successful at catching fish and many would argue
that coastal waters and some of our rivers and lakes are,
in fact, overfished.
Nevertheless, Madam President, many of us persist in going
fishing and many books have been written on the subject, particularly
in pursuit of trout in Tasmania. One exceptionally keen angler
was the late Michael Tristram. His brother, Stephen, says
of him, 'I could never understand why Michael found fishing
so enjoyable but he loved fishing ever since he was a young
boy and was first introduced to it by our father by catching
cod off the Hillwood jetty'. That is in the member for Windermere's
electorate. Michael never came home to Tasmania for a holiday
without fitting in a day or two of fishing.
Well, Madam President, Stephen and the rest of the family
decided they would like to do something for fishing from Michael's
estate. Stephen Tristram approached Michael Stevens, which
is a name you might recognise.
Ms Rattray - He is on the ABC Radio on Saturday mornings talking
Mr FINCH - On radio, yes; through books and through the Internet
as well. He talked to Michael about publishing some posters
depicting Tasmanian fresh and seawater fish and, as Michael
Stephens put it, a chap rang him one day and said his brother
passed away recently and the family would like to do something
for fishing from his estate. It was Stephen Tristram. He had
heard him talking fishing on ABC radio one Saturday morning.
He said, 'You slightly amuse me and I thought you might be
able to help'. After some discussion Stephen and his family
agreed to commission the production of the superb fish posters
that are now available free from all Australian Fishing Trade
Association tackle stores. Michael Stephens says fishing is
a huge participation sport in Tasmania with almost one-third
of the population wetting a line each year. That is remarkable;
a third of Tasmanians. I think licensing is up around 30 000
Two beautifully designed and printed recreational fish art
posters have just been produced and they feature some of Tasmania's
most popular fish species. I would like to show you this.
I am going to make a copy available next week to every member
of parliament here so that you will be able to use this as
a poster. You can in fact halve the poster, whether you favour
saltwater or freshwater fish. Nothing like these has ever
been available in Tasmania before. They have been produced
with both saltwater and freshwater fish on high quality paper.
What a legacy for Tasmanian fishermen, Madam President. What
a gift to those Tasmanians who continue an historical interest
in catching fish or, like me, just try to catch fish. I will
have one of these for each of the members next week and it
is Michael Tristram and his family donating those to the fishing
enthusiasts of Tasmania.