Looks to me like it’s the beginning of the end of most of the Marine Parks in NSW!
Bans lifted on fishing in sanctuaries
The reversal of current practice follows the government’s recent five-year moratorium on the establishment of new marine parks, and constitutes a sea change in fisheries management.
”There has been a lot of criticism in the past that marine parks were only established for political purposes,” said the Primary Industries Minister, Katrina Hodgkinson. ”We want to get past the politics.”
The opposition and the NSW Greens accused the government of capitulation to the whims of the Shooters and Fishers Party.
The Coalition said the former Labor government of establishing new protection zones in the Jervis Bay and Solitary Islands marine parks shortly before the last election to attract Greens preferences.
The changes follow an audit of marine parks delivered to the government by University of Queensland professor Bob Beeton last year.
Ms Hodgkinson said that in response to the audit, a Marine Expert Knowledge Panel was set up, which will consider not only the science of marine park establishment but also the socio-economic impacts, chaired by Andrew Stoeckel from the Australian National University.
The panel will report to a new Marine Estate Management Authority, to include directors-general of relevant government agencies and chaired by Wendy Craik, a member of the Federal Productivity Commission. The authority will advise Ms Hodgkinson and the Environment Minister, Robyn Parker, on the future of the state’s marine park estate.
Ms Parker said the authority would look at estuaries and marine parks ”right up and down the coast line, making sure that we look at that in a holistic way”.
Existing prohibitions on line fishing from land within all but one sanctuary zone, Burrewarra Point in Batemans marine park, will also be immediately lifted.
Ms Hodgkinson said the decision to lift restrictions on line fishing from rock faces and beaches in marine park was taken because Professor Beeton’s audit found the activity had ”minimal impact”. But the audit did endorse marine sanctuaries in some circumstances.
”This move is contrary to the recommendations of their own scientific audit,” said the opposition environment spokesman, Luke Foley. ”It is Mr O’Farrell’s latest dirty deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party, following allowing amateur shooting in national parks.”
The NSW criticised the changes. ”The existing bans on recreational fishing on some beaches and headlands exist for a reason, and that’s because they do seriously affect the fish species that reside there,” said Greens MP Cate Faehrmann.
An inquiry into recreational fishing in 2010 heard from marine scientists who noted the marine sanctuaries system had wide public support, and that recreational fishing had a bigger impact on some species than commercial fishing.
Article by : Sean Nicholls, Ben Cubby