15 June 2012
The Gillard Government has unveiled a network of marine reserves that will have little to no impact on recreational fishing, while securing our ocean environments for the future.
There will be opportunities for the recreational fishing sector to engage in the management systems of the reserves as well.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the new reserves would not stop recreational fishers from doing what they love.
“In almost two-thirds of the announced reserve area recreational fishing is unimpeded – even where there are other restrictions,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The bottom line is that the vast majority of people who drop a line of a weekend are not active in the remaining areas, which in most cases are hundreds of kilometres off shore.
“Australians love to fish and it’s not true that these reserves will prevent us from continuing to do so. It’s misleading for the opposition to tell people otherwise.”
Senator Ludwig said it was important the recreational, charter and commercial fishing industries have their say on plans to manage use of the reserves.
“The Government will work with the recreational sector and the charter sector who do access these marine environments to get the management arrangements right. We have the time to work with industry constructively and that’s exactly what we’ll do,” he said.
“We have taken into account the needs of recreational fishers and have made sure the vast majority will not even notice a change.
“There will be little impact on recreational fishing along the east coast. For example, in Mackay you’d have to travel 400km off shore to enter a marine park.
“And fishing in places like Marion Reef, where people traditionally fish on the edge of the reef and not on the reef itself, can still continue under the new reserves.”
Once the reserves are established there will be two stages of consultation on the new management plans.
“The Government will continue to engage recreational fishers as stewards of our marine reserves,” Minister Ludwig said.
“In the first phase of consultation people will be asked what issues they would like addressed in the management plans and these comments will be taken into account in drafting them.
“In the second phase, after draft plans have been developed, people will have the chance to comment a second time and their feedback will be used to shape the final plans.”