Lock-outs scrapped in Sydney Marine Park backflip

NSW Minsiter for primary Industries Niall Blair

THE NSW Government has today committed that there will be no loss of fishing rights or access under the proposed marine park sites put forward by the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA).

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said he has received extensive feedback from both local communities and anglers and is confident that fishing is not the key threat to the sustainability of our marine environment.

“The feedback we have received has been robust but vital to being able to make this decision today. While consultation will continue, I felt it was paramount to allay the uncertainty and fear the fishing industry is currently experiencing,” Blair said.

“I am a keen fisherman myself and understand both the economic and social values the industry brings to our State.

“MEMA put forward this proposal because they had identified 25 areas that require better management to ensure their sustainability.

“What is now clear is that their proposed management methods and in some cases the sizes of the sites, offered up a narrow option that unfairly impacted on low risk activities, such as fishing and spear-fishing.

“As a result the NSW Government has taken lockouts off the table. We are confident there are many other ways to manage these sensitive areas, that have fishers as part of the solution and we will continue to explore these options for the rest of the consultation period.

“Today’s decision does not change the fact we are still working towards a marine park that protects key marine habitats, species and the environment we all know and love.

“In order to manage them and protect them for future generations we need an approach that is accepted and sustainable for the people of NSW. I encourage everyone to continue to have their say as we work to deliver a final marine park solution in the coming weeks.

“In 2011, we made an election commitment to deliver a marine park strategy that was based on risk assessments and consultation rather than empty ideology and slogans that we saw under Labor. We remain committed to that promise and will continue to do the hard work to make sure we get an outcome that is sustainable now and well into the future.”

Mister Blair was interviewed by Sydney radio host Ray Hadley this morning where he made the announcement.

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