Australia 2003 Fishing in Australia
- Issue Date: 11 February 2003
- Designed by: Ego Guiotto
- Printed by: SNP Sprint
- Print Process: Lithography
- Perforations: 14.5 x 14
- Stamp size: 40mm x 30mm
- Format: sheets of 50 (two panes of 25 separated by printed gutter)
Fishing is one of the most popular recreational activities in Australia. Surveys indicate that a quarter of all Australians over the age of fourteen go fishing at least once a year. Fishing can be cheap, requiring no more than a line and a hook, or expensive, involving boats, rods, reels and the latest, most expensive accessories. People can fish in rivers and dams, from local piers and beaches, or they can take to the estuaries and bays, to coral reefs or the open sea. It can be a gentle, relaxing pastime in the hope of a nice little catch for dinner, or a serious mental and physical challenge.
An angler’s success depends, in part, on knowing fish. Each species has its own characteristics and idiosyncrasies which the serious angler takes into account. Despite the many differences between species, all have a highly developed instinct for self-preservation. Anglers must basically convince a fish that it is being offered something good to eat or something that needs to be driven off its territory.
These stamps are larger than Australia Post’s standard special and commemorative stamps. This size stamp was first used by Post for East Timor’s stamps (released May 2002). At 40 x 30 mm these stamps provide about 23 percent more area.
Each stamp has two main elements: a popular recreational fish and an illustration of an angler in a spot where that fish can be found. Using the extra area to great effect, Guiotto uses white space to lift the fish up and away from the stamp’s surface and accentuate the extraordinary detail and realism of his original art. The environmental illustration evokes a spirit of place without specifying an actual location and without competing with the stars of the issue, the fish.
Snapper (Pagrus auratus)
The highly prized snapper has been described as ‘the all-time great Aussie fish’. A fine eating fish, snapper are fished commercially as well as being a prize catch for recreational anglers. The stamp shows anglers fishing for snapper on a southern Australian beach.
Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii)
The Murray cod is one of Australia’s most sought-after freshwater angling species. Size and bag limits and closed seasons apply in all states where Murray cod occur. The stamp shows a promising environment for Murray cod, a river with lots of dead trees providing good cover.
Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)
Brown trout were introduced to Australia in 1864, first in Tasmania and later in Victoria. One of the more popular and skillful methods for catching trout is fly fishing. A great mystique surrounds this type of angling. It involves casting an almost weightless fly just upstream from the trout so that the fly lands softly and does not alarm the fish. The stamp shows a fly fisher in the Tasmanian lakes region.
Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares)
All tuna are torpedo-shaped and all are very swift predators, always in search of prey. They swim and feed almost continuously. Yellowfin are extremely powerful. This oceanic migrator is known to work close to shore in waters less than 50 metres deep right around the Australian coast. The stamp shows anglers fishing for tuna from a boat off a rocky headland.
Barramundi (Lates calcarifer)
As well as being good eating, barramundi are excellent sporting fish with great fighting ability. Their bite is sudden and savage and, once hooked, they perform aerobatics and repeated powerful runs for cover. They live in both salt and fresh waters, in streams, lakes, billabongs , estuaries and coastal waters. A barramundi is unlikely to be sexually mature before three years. The male spawns regularly, producing sperm for three to four years after maturity. It then changes sex, and becomes an abundant breeding female. Small barramundi are thus likely to be male, while large barramundi are female. The stamp shows anglers working from a boat in a river mangrove area of northern Australia.
Four lures (for barramundi, snapper, tuna, and Murray cod) and a fly (for trout) are printed in the gutter.
First Day Cover
The first day of issue postmark was Fish Creek VIC 3959.