Exclusive: Green plans for a no-fishing future

Map Reveals More Massive Lock-Outs Are On The Cards

GREEN activists have signalled that they will push for a massive increase in no-fishing zones after the September 7 election, national angling groups reveal.

The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the peak body representing Australia’s five million anglers, has released a map showing areas green lobby groups want closed to fishing.

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(Download large version of map HERE).

The map, which details massive areas in south-west WA, key game fisheries off the NSW south and north coasts, large areas off the Kimberley and NT, as yet unspecified areas off Victoria and Tasmania, the Coral Sea and Fraser Island off the North Queensland and expansive closures off SA, was compiled using data sourced from green groups’ websites and marine park submissions.

“The big fear we have is that the anti-fishing groups will be pushing hard to have these new areas locked up as soon as possible after the upcoming election,” ARFF spokesman Allan Hansard said.

“We are concerned that if the ALP again has to rely on the Greens to hold power in parliament we will see pressure brought to bear on the Labor Party to lock anglers out of yet more areas.

“We are urgently calling on both the ALP and the Coalition to reject extremist anti-fishing agendas and to instead work with anglers to create sensible and scientifically valid marine protection policies.”

The new areas highlighted by green groups as needing “total protection” are additional to the 1.3 million square kilometres of ocean the Rudd Government has already closed to recreational fishing under its marine reserve network. The proposed no-fishing zones do not include state-based marine parks. In many cases, the new areas highlighted for closure abut existing state marine parks, meaning no fishing zones could extend from the shore right out to the 200 mile limit.

“The recent decision by the Government to close places like the Perth Trench, Geographe Bay and the Coral Sea reefs shows that there is little doubt that the anti-fishing lobby has the resources, money and political backing to achieve pretty much whatever they want,” ARFF’s Allan Hansard told Fisho today.

“The map we’ve released shows a very sobering and confronting future for Australian anglers. The anti-fishing organisations want at least 30 per cent of our commonwealth waters closed, as well as increased marine parks in state and territory waters.

“We thought the 1.3 million square kilometres the Government has already kicked us out of was bad. This new info reveals catastrophic lock-outs are being planned and lobbied for,” Hansard said.

The Australian newspaper today published a page 2 report on the ARFF map. See the report HERE.

National rec-fishing advocacy group Keep Australia Fishing, a member of ARFF, is conducting a campaign to lobby Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to stop the lock-outs. See for details.

Fisho understands the federal Coalition is aware of the ARFF map and has expressed grave concerns about the potential impacts on the economy due to further fishing restrictions. See a press release from National Senator Ron Boswell HERE.

Fisho also understands that ARFF contacted federal Environment Minister Mark Butler, who is responsible for marine parks policy, to discuss concerns about the proposed expansion of no fishing zones.

According to ARFF, Minister Butler refused to meet with rec fishing representatives.

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