Opinion: Extreme environmentalists in a spin

FRIDAY’S Federal Marine Park announcement caught a few of the “extreme” environmental interest groups off guard. The draft marine park plan, which you can read about in more detail here, is the most recent update in an ongoing string of changes.

The original Federal Marine Park proposal was hatched under Labor’s Environment Minister Tony Bourke back in 2012 and at the time created a heated battle between extreme environmental groups, rec fishers and commercial fishers. That plan was put on hold as an election promise by then Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Subsequent changes and a “Independent Review” seemingly put the ball back in the environmentalists’ court before the most recent amendment was released on Friday.

Thankfully, in the years following Labor’s initial marine Park lock-outs, Australia’s rec fishing industry got its act together and put forward a solid argument for more balance in decisions affecting Australia’s 5 million rec fishos.

On the surface, balance is what the recent announcement provides. Some of the more extreme lock-outs suggested under the Labor government have been wound back, and while it’s not perfect, many rec fishers are pleased with this balanced approach.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the usual extreme envoronmentalists; believe me, the “lock-it-up” mentality is still alive and well! Just hours after Friday’s plan was released, social media was awash with emotive photos and headlines. For example, the photo of a sad-looking seal with a headline reading “Devastating News”. Social media followers were quick to fire up, throwing all sorts of accusations and conspiracy theories back at the Coalition Government. One social media commentator even suggested PEW was siding with the Turnbull government, linking the charitable trust’s dirty oil money past. That’s an interesting theory…

In a statement released on Friday, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said: “Tourism jobs will also be placed at risk, particularly in the valuable dive and whale watching sectors”, and “Australia will trump even Donald Trump if it implements these cut backs.”

How the whale watching industry will suffer under this plan is anyone’s guess. While comparing the announcement to a “Trumpism” screams of desperation as these environment groups pull out all stops to continue locking us out of our favourite fishing spots.

So where does that leave us? Submissions are open on the draft managenment plan until September 20, 2017. Now is the time to have your say before the aforementioned extreme groups use more nonsensical emotive arugments to sway public opinion, and desision makers, against our interests. Click here and have your say – https://parksaustralia.gov.au/marine/management/draft-plans/

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