Brown’s Coral Sea policy labelled “bad news”

According to National Party Senator Ron Boswell, Greens Leader Bob Brown’s announcement this week that he would seek a 100 per cent ban on fishing across nearly one million square kilometres of the Coral Sea was another warning bell for the future of recreational and commercial fishing.

Boswell said Brown had previously announced that the Greens would seek fishing bans across at least 30 per cent of the vast network of marine reserves now being planned around the country. He warns that closures of this scale would beenough to virtually end commercial fishing in Australian waters,and drastically reduce recreational fishing opportunities.

Greens Leader Brown said this week only one per cent of the CoralSea was protected, leaving the remainder at risk of destructiveactivities such as overfishing and oil and gas extraction.

“The preference deal recently done between Labor and the Greens virtually assures the Greens the balance of power in the Senate from mid next year,” Boswell said.

“The preference deal was cemented after Environment Minister Peter Garrett went angling for Green preferences using fishermen as bait. He has been pandering to extreme Green sentiment on marine issues, especially in relation to the Coral Sea, for over a year.”

“The Green groups that back the Greens party have now got everything they wanted from Peter Garrett on the Coral Sea, and they will now no doubt seek big closures across the entire marine park network.”

In response, a spokesman from Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s office told Fisho, “This is more of the same tired old rhetoric from Senator Boswell. He continues to beat the drum when he well knows that the Government has made crystal clear that there is no plan to establish one large ‘no take’ marine park.

“As the [Environment] Minister has said repeatedly, the process being followed in the Coral Sea is the same as with other marine areas around the country, informed by science and thorough and rigorous consultation with all sectors – green groups, recreational fishers, commercial fishers and others.

“The Government is aiming for a balanced mix of both multiple use areas and no-take areas within the marine reserve network in which we work with stakeholders to minimise the impacts on existing users.

“This is a process that began under the Howard Government and Senator Boswell and is being continued under this Government. Tony Abbott and Senator Boswell are simply running a scare campaign designed to whip up fear and anxiety.”

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