Former British MP weighs into marine parks debate

Last week the British Labour Party’s former Angling Spokesman, Martin Salter, gave evidence to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Recreational Fishing. Salter, who retired from the House of Commons in April and is currently living in Sydney, accused NSW politicians of providing poor representation for the State’s estimated 1 million anglers.

He put forward a plan to allow anglers in receipt of a special permit who practise catch and release to be allowed access to a majority of the Marine Park sanctuary zones from which they’ve been excluded.

In his submission Salter said;

“With three million anglers in a population of a little over 20 million that has just voted in a ‘hung’ federal parliament it is surprising that recreational anglers weren’t given greater attention by the two main political parties. The eve of poll statement by the Prime Minister on the highly controversial issue of further extensions to the Marine Parks programme, particularly on the Fraser Coast in QLD clearly came too late to prevent a voter backlash against sitting Labor members.

“The fact that people in Australia and NSW even feel the need to form and vote for specific ‘Pro-Fishing’ parties is, in my view, an admission of failure by the political establishment on these issues. Given the ill informed anti-angling bias that is prevalent amongst many of the more extreme green activists it is hardly surprising that thousands of voters who enjoy angling are feeling threatened and are looking for new leadership. This is in marked contrast to the UK where all the main political parties, with the exception of the Greens, readily signed up to the Manifesto for Angling produced by the countries national angling body, The Angling Trust.”

He added:

“It takes a rare genius in a country with superb fisheries, a massive and often pristine coastline and a comparatively small population to create such a large number of angry and disaffected citizens who simply want to go fishing. The problem is as much political as it is environmental and presents a challenge to which the mainstream politicians must respond. Nothing will ever placate the ultra-green extremists who wish to ban angling and would even make it illegal to keep animals for pets and who simply want to lock the human race out of large tracts of the earth and the oceans.’

Salter contrasted the unhappiness of anglers in Australia with his own experiences in the UK where all the main political parties signed a joint manifesto pledge to support angling. A recently introduced Marine Bill in the UK received strong support from the country’s national angling governing body following ministerial assurances that recreational fishing would be permitted in a majority of the Marine Conservation Zones.

Salter concluded:

“Although I’m supposed to be having a break from politics, as a paying NSW Recreational Fishing Licence holder I share the frustration of my fellow anglers who are being locked out of prime fishing grounds for no good reason in Marine Parks whose designation appears to be based on dodgy science and political dogma.

“Aussie anglers feel they have been badly let down by mainstream politicians who have failed to stand up to the anti-angling green extremists. Anglers are conservationists first and foremost, they are the eyes and ears of the waterside environment and locking them out of great swathes of the ocean makes no sense when there is not a single species of fish in Australian waters whose existence is endangered by recreational fishing.”

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.