Geoff Cramer’s Order of Australia is a win for fishers

GEOFF Cramer considers his own Australia Day honour to be for all responsible recreational fishers across Victoria.

Mr Cramer was appointed to the Order of Australia general division (OAM) for his service to the recreational fishing industry in Victoria. 

He is honoured but also a little embarrassed personally, insisting many others have made a significant contribution to his sport. 

"I feel somewhat uncomfortable from a personal perspective knowing just how many recreational fishermen contribute around the state," Mr Cramer says.

"The great thing for me, is that this award recognises how significant recreational fishing is to the community, not just around Ballarat but in Australia.

"I feel recreational fishing is great for the community. It gets kids out into the environment because they learn to appreciate it. While there are exceptions, most kids do learn to appreciate the environment which is important."

The 59-year old says recreational fishing and caring for the environment are integral for one another. As a former chairman of Victorian Recreational Fishing (VR Fish), the peak body representing the state's recreational fishers, he advocates supporting those who do the right thing rather than punishing them for the actions of others.

"It always annoys me when I see places locked up and access taken away for so-called environmental protection reasons," Mr Cramer says. 

"I'm not sure I'd write the letters after my name in a letter"

"At VR Fish we fought hard to ensure the marine parks weren't expanded. Controls are important but lockouts cause all sorts of problems. When properly managed, recreational fishing doesn't impact the environment at all and in fact enhances the environment. 

"Recreational fishers do not want to impact the sustainability of their sport."

Mr Cramer is part of the regular review of bag limits for sustainability and has been for nearly three decades. He was on the board of VR Fish for 17 years.

As for the honour itself, Mr Cramer is taking it in his stride.

"I'm not sure I'd write the letters after my name in a letter," he laughs.

"Still I might go to our managing director at Central Highlands Water and ask him to put 'OAM' on my business cards. I'm looking forward to seeing the expression on his face."

Geoff Cramer OAM

Chairman, Lake Wendouree Aquatic Association

Former chairman, VR Fish

Delegate and former president, Ballarat District Anglers' Association

Life member, delegate and former president, Ballarat Fly Fishers' Club

Co-presenter, On the Bite, 3BA