Pew activists plead with Abbott over marine parks

ANTI-FISHING groups led by the US-based Pew organisation are staging a last-ditch effort to force Tony Abbott to change his marine park policies.

A mass write in campaign being staged by the Pew sponsored Save Our Marine Life group is claiming anglers support the Labor Government’s plans to ban fishing in 1.3 million square kilometres of ocean.

The campaign by the anti-fishing groups follows Mr Abbott’s announcement on Monday that he would “suspend and review” the marine parks plans if he wins power on September 7.

See coverage HERE.

Coalition sources today told Fisho that the protests and campaigns being staged by the environment groups would not change stated policies regarding the marine parks plans.

A spokesman for Keep Australia Fishing, the national advocacy group representing Australia’s 5 million recreational fishers, said it was clear that anglers had major concerns about the way former environment minister Tony Burke had managed the marine park process.

“We are of the opinion that groups like Pew had too much influence in how these marine lockout plans came about. The public discontent we are now seeing is clear evidence of that.

“For the anti-fishing groups to be attempting to tell Mr Abbott that anglers actually support these unfair and discriminatory lockouts is laughable in the extreme,” the KAF spokesman said.

“The fact is Australia’s 5 million anglers welcome and support Mr Abbott’s announcement that he will suspend the current process before instituting a proper scientific review.”

News of the environment lobby’s attempts to change the Coalition’s marine parks policies comes as the recreational angling sector announces an advertising campaign aimed at informing voters about fishing policy issues.

The campaign, which includes TV, print, online and social media, will roll out within the next few days.

In related news, Environment Minister Mark Butler has this week sent a mass email warning voters that an Abbott government would “devastate” the marine environment. The minister then asks for cash donations to support the ALP’s campaign.

“I’ve never heard of a minister sending out a release criticising Opposition policies and then asking for money,” a seasoned political campaigner told Fisho today. “It is a truly bizarre thing to be doing.”

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