Coalition releases rec fishing policy in election lead-up

THE NSW opposition today released its recreational fishing policy titled “Restoring the Balance”.

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Duncan Gay said today at Port Macquarie the NSW Liberals & Nationals Marine Parks policy claims to outline: “Positive, practical plans based on independent, scientific evidence to give local communities a proper say in decisions that affect their livelihood and lifestyle.”

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals policy “Restoring the Balance” finds the right balance between allowing fishermen appropriate access to fishing spots and protecting the marine environment,” said Gay.

The Coalition policy includes:

* Not abolish any of the existing six marine parks and continue our moratorium on the creation of new marine parks and fishing closures, pending the outcome of our independent scientific audit.
* Immediately commission an independent scientific audit of the effectiveness of existing zoning arrangements in meeting domestic and international commitments to the conservation of marine biodiversity.
* A separate audit to examine which lead agency (Fisheries or the Department of Environment and Climate Change) is more appropriate to manage Marine Parks.
* Trial appropriate recreational fishing techniques in marine parks under review.
* Expand the current Habitat Protection Zones within marine parks subject to the results of the scientific independent audit.
* Local Community Social and Economic Impact Statements included in the audit.
* Commit to removing pressure on our fish stocks and marine environment through a $16 million, 4-year commitment for a commercial fisherman buyout policy.
* Audit the current management of NSW Fishing Trust funds and the process by which trust funds are allocated.
* Create a new Joint Recreational and Commercial Fishing Advisory Committee including stakeholders from the fishing industries.
* Improve the awareness of anglers of zoning arrangements so fines are not handed out to unsuspecting people drifting into restricted areas.
* Improve the current system of compliance.

“Fishermen in NSW have long suffered under NSW Labor’s failed marine parks policy which was designed to achieve a political outcome rather than an environmental evidence-based outcome,” said Gay.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals do not believe that Labor’s approach of locking communities out of their waterways is the answer to protecting our marine environments.

“Marine parks as operated by the Keneally Labor Government concentrate solely on restricting fishing rather than addressing pollution, introduced species and diseases, some agricultural substances and inappropriate coastal development.”

Stay tuned to for more related news in the lead-up to theNSW election.

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