Angler unrest over marine parks intensifies

A RECENT public meeting in Adelaide demonstrated clearly the opinions of many South Aussie fishers when it comes to the state’s proposed marine parks. Close to 50 per cent of the SA coast has been earmarked by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for protection under the Marine Parks Act, and anglers are starting to rally in protest.

More than 1,000 irate fishers, both recreational and commercial, turned out at a public meeting, organised by Liberal MP, Vickie Chapman. Ms Chapman has been vocal in her opposition to the marine parks push, promising to fight the Rann Labour Government for as long as it takes to stall the proposed legislation that will lock anglers out of many popular fishing areas.

Of most concern is the large volume of sanctuary or no-take zones within the 19 gazetted parks. Many of these lie within easy reach of popular coastal tourist towns, whose residents are worried about the long term effects the closures will have on their local economies. Real estate values are already showing a downward trend in some popular areas, and it is feared this will escalate once the sanctuary zones are in place.

As a further show of strength and consolidation, Vickie Chapman has organised a Family Fishing Picnic, to be held at metropolitan West Beach on Sunday, May 15. Ms Chapman hopes to see hundreds of fishing families attend in a bid to demonstrate to the SA Government exactly how significant our pastime is.

Shane Mensforth is editor of the SA Angler

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