Moreton Bay marine park zones to be wound back?

Media Release: Newman Wrong on Moreton Bay Green Zones

Monday 17 February 2014

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has cautioned the Newman Government over a proposal to allow fishing in a green zone at Redcliffe, Moreton Bay Marine Park in South-east Queensland.

“This decision is clearly a complete misread of community sentiment on our marine park,” said Fiona Maxwell from the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“The science and public sentiment are solid. Marine conservation and great fishing go hand in hand in Moreton Bay, and the public want them to stay. The Newman Government has clearly not considered the science or the real sentiment of the community in this announcement,” said Ms Maxwell.

There was extensive community consultation through the Moreton Bay Marine Park process finalised in 2009, with over 8000 submissions received from ocean lovers, scientists and recreational users of the marine park. Recent scientific surveys of recreational fishers show that a clear majority believe that green zones are good for Moreton Bay, further evidence that marine parks are delivering clear benefits for fishers and conservation alike.

“The scientific and Government studies clearly show the great majority of recreational fishers, both in Brisbane and throughout Queensland, believe that our highly protected green zones are a good and pretty reasonable thing, and that great conservation and great fishing go hand in hand,” Ms Maxwell said.

“We question why Premier Newman is going against the science and the rigorously surveyed opinions of local recreational fishers to adopt a proposal that was being pushed by disgraced former MP Scott Driscoll whilst he was still the member for Redcliffe. There was no scientific process behind this decision.

“History, the science and simple common sense shows that recreational fishers and other recreational users continue to enjoy the Bay as much as they always have – a point obvious to anyone that spends any time on the waters of Moreton Bay. It is difficult to understand the motive behind this retrograde proposal,” said Ms Maxwell.

Two recently published peer-reviewed studies from the CSIRO and local universities clearly show that the majority of local fishers think the Marine Park and its green zones are positive for the bay, and that the new zoning plan is delivering benefits to the community.

Main findings from the recent research (available here) include:

64.7% of surveyed recreational fishers said that the current zoning of the marine park would be positive for the biology’ of the bay.Far from impacting fishers negatively – as scaremongers predicted – Moreton Bay Marine Park is delivering significant economic benefits to local recreational fishers ($1M-$2.5M per year).A survey of north Queensland recreational fishers also showed that, in the much larger Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with double the proportion of green zones, 73% of fishers believed the green zones had either no effect or a positive effect on their fishing.

Media Contact:

Ingrid Neilson
AMCS Communications Manager
0421 972 731

Last month (19 jan):

CALLS to allow fishing in Moreton Bay Marine Park green zones have been rejected by state National Parks Minister Steve Dickson. Mr Dickson said 84 per cent, or almost 3000sq km, of the park was already open to recreational fishers, and green zones represented small but important areas that protected fish and habitats.

Mr Dickson was responding to a petition to Parliament signed by 249 fishers wanting increased access to state marine parks and federal government reserves.

Principal petitioner Tim Whittle, of Cleveland, southeast of Brisbane, argued that park boundaries had been set without genuine consultation.

Mr Whittle wanted the Commonwealth process of listing marine reserves stopped and park boundaries to be based on science, accompanied by socio-economic research showing the impact on fishers, businesses and food security.

Marine reserves became an issue in the lead-up to the last election, with the then environment minister Kate Jones challenging then LNP leader Campbell Newman’s conservation credentials. She urged him to state where he stood on green issues after Mr Newman promised to review the Moreton Bay Marine Park plan and said recreational fishing access was not fair.

Since the election, the State Government has been criticised for anti-conservation moves – such as developments in national parks, wiping the Office of Climate Change and abandoning wild rivers environment protection.

In a response tabled in Parliament, Mr Dickson told Mr Whittle that federal reserves were in Commonwealth waters and were an issue for the Federal Government.

He said state park boundaries in Moreton Bay were based on science, and fishers had been consulted.

“This ensured that the most popular recreational fishing areas of the Bay were excluded from green zones,” Mr Dickson said.

Queensland Conservation Council chairman Simon Baltais welcomed the move.

“The Government’s been in such a rush to wind back anything deemed to have been put in place by Labor that they are now probably starting to realise some things were done for a reason,” Mr Baltais said.

He said Mr Dickson also was right about fishers being consulted and that scientists determined the boundaries.


What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.