Fishing industry fires back over Twiggy Forest marine park plan

WA fishing experts have blasted mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s ocean conservation plan (image: Dept Foreign Affairs and Trade/Trevor Collens via Wkimedia Commons).

WA fishing experts have hit back hard at mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s $100 million ocean conservation plan, branding it flawed and potentially disastrous.

Accordsing to an article in The West Australian, Forrest pledged, through his family’s Minderoo Foundation on Tuesday, to undertake a study and set new marine protection measures he claimed would lead to better sustainability. The Federal Government plans to open 80 per cent of Australia’s marine parks to fishing, including WA’s Ningaloo Reef, the Rottnest Trench and the Coral Sea off Queensland.

But Forrest’s suggestion that sustainability efforts were failing angered WA’s commercial and recreational fishing industry. WA marine scientist Chris Jones said proposed fishery closures could spell the death of North West town Exmouth as a tourist destination and game-fishing hotspot.

“The potential impact on the town of Exmouth could be potentially devastating,” Mr Jones said. “To take the stance he has on marine parks when the research is still questionable, given the voice and influence he has, is irresponsible.”

Former Recfishwest boss Frank Prokop said Forrest’s money would be better spent on community education or artificial reefs.

“There seems to be this secondary agenda that sanctuary zones will cure the problem of plastics in the ocean … that is a nonsense,” he said.

“I’m really worried that the general community are accepting as fact, Twiggy’s (Forrest’s) personal perceptions.

“We’d like to see Forrest work with the community to achieve an outcome because we’ve been in love with the ocean well before he discovered it.”

To read the full article, click HERE.


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