Marine Park Q&A: The reel facts on Tony Burke’s big lockout

TO help Australia’s fishos understand where they stand in relation to the Federal Government’s new marine park network, rec fishing advocacy group Keep Australia Fishing has released a Q&A statement outlining the way forward. 

Here’s an excerpt from the KAF release:

On November 16, Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced that recreational fishers will be locked out of around 1.3 million square kilometres of Aussie oceans. Never in our history have recreational fishers been locked out of such a vast area. To date the Minister has not provided a reason as to why he has taken such a harsh stance to Aussie fishos. We’ll run through the marine park process and explore those questions we want answers to.

Frequently Asked Questions

OK, they are locking us out! What happens now?
Minister Burke has announced what is called the “proclamation” stage of developing the Commonwealth Marine Park network. When he proclaims a marine reserve system he is defining the boundaries or zones of the reserve and the types of reservation. The next steps are:

The Governor General will make the marine reserve network law.
Marine park management plans are developed over the next 18 months.
The marine park plans are implemented. This will happen by 2014, based on the latest estimates.

What happens until the marine park plans are implemented?
An interim management plan is put in place. The interim plan is a “status quo” plan. While it is in place and until the final plan is implemented, we can continue to fish the areas we do now in the way we do now.

When will we be locked out?
If we are unsuccessful in persuading the Government to change its mind, recreational fishers will be locked out forever from July 1, 2014. At this time the management plans are proposed to be implemented and the law associated with the plans will be activated. In other words, if ever you wanted to fish the iconic fishing spots Mr Burke plans to lock up, you have until July 2014 to do it!

What is the process for the management plans?
The Government will develop management plans for the marine reserves located in the Coral Sea, East Temperate, South West, North West and Northern bioregions. There will be one plan developed for each region. The Government will have two 30-day consultation periods where it will seek submissions on the management plans. The first consultation period has started and will end on December 18. The second consultation period is likely to be in early 2014, prior to the finalisation of the plan. Details on management plans can be obtained at http://www.environment.gov.au/marinereserves/management.html

Read the complete Q&A statement here: http://www.keepaustraliafishing.com.au/index.php/news/8-menu/take-action/55-marine-park-q-and-a

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