Fish “herding” exposes marine parks double standard

ACCORDING to an ABC news report, fishermen in South Australia have been caught trying to “herd” kingfish out of recently introduced marine park sanctuary zones.

The report comes after 83 controversial marine sanctuaries were implemented across the state earlier this month.

Marine Parks regional coordinator Shelley Harrison said the activity was illegal because the zones protect fish from “any” interference.

“Kingfish are a highly mobile species, so they would be quite hard to herd,” she said.

“But because they’re going in there to spawn, they’re quite big fish, so it’s easy to spot them.

“They bubble on the surface.”

Fisho understands the ABC report is the result of a single incident and has raised eyebrows amongst experienced anglers who fail to understand how fast moving skittish pelagics such as kingfish can possibly be “herded” – as stated above by a marine parks spokesperson. 

The issue has also resulted in a backlash from rec fishers who have taken to social media to protest that double standards exist in this case, citing the example that while anglers are fined for “interfering” with fish, shark cage dive operations within these sanctuary zones can legally berley for great white sharks for commercial purposes.

In a response on facebook a spokesperson for National Parks South Australia says that shark cage diving is restricted to prevent impacting on the sharks and environment. “This is just one example of how marine parks are good for ecotourism,” one post states.  

While Fisho doesn’t condone any illegal action undertaken in marine parks by anglers, we fail to understand how berleying for great white sharks in a sanctuary zone is not a prime example of “interference”. What do readers think?

See responses below on National Parks SA’s facebook page. 

Read more at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-16/fishers-caught-trying-to-herd-kingfish-into-a-different-zone/5818560

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