Fishos being urged to make their votes count

THE Keep Australia Fishing movement is urging all recreational fishers to make their vote count this weekend.

The rec fishing advocacy body says the message to Federal Labor and the Greens is clear – locking recreational fishers out of fishing areas will result in the parties’ political demise. Neil Patrick, Chairman of Keep Australia Fishing, said Saturday’s election was the most important vote in a generation.

“Our fishing rights are under attack,” Patrick said.

“We have one chance to end this ridiculous lock out and that’s this Saturday.

“If Labor and the Greens get back in on Saturday, 1.3 million square kilometres of Australian waters will be classified as Marine National Park Zones and we’ll be locked out.

“That would be a disaster for the 5 million fishers in Australia.

“This nonsensical decision is based purely on politics – not on science,” he said.

Patrick said that over the past three years, the rights of fishers had slowly been worn away and says we should consider what’s happened since the last Federal election:

• The Marine Park Process – an arbitrary, unscientific, politically motivated and flawed process LOCKS OUT recreational fishers from huge tracts of Australia’s coastal reserves.
• Invitation to the appalling SUPERTRAWLER to fish in our waters.
• Funding cuts from community based fishing organisations.

Neil Patrick said that Canberra had underestimated the community anger at the draconian legislative changes and that Labor would be taught a valuable lesson on Saturday.

“Recreational fishers have an extremely powerful voice in this country – but that seems to have been forgotten by some of the main political parties,” he said.

“We’re being treated as mugs – it’s as if we don’t exist. We fish and we vote and we have long memories. We have one clear goal and that is to Keep Australia Fishing.”

What recreational fishers want:
• An independent scientific review of the Marine Parks process. There’s no need to ban recreational fishers from marine parks to have effective or world leading marine conservation.
• Restoring funding to community-based recreational fishing groups. Let’s get our kids fishing again and show the great benefits fishing brings to the community;
• Stopping SUPERTRAWLERS from fishing our waters. The science is just not there to assess the effects of these boats on our marine environment;
• and basing all future decisions on the marine environment or fisheries management on science, not politics.

The Keep Australia Fishing group said only the Liberal/National Coalition offered certainty to Australian fishers that their rights to wet a line would be protected.

While Keep Australia Fishing has approached the Rudd Government to reconsider locking Aussie fishos out of vast tracts of ocean, they are still awaiting a response. On the Keep Australia Fishing facebook page a copy of a letter by Labor’s Chris Bowen MP to Mark Butler MP, asking for a response about marine park lockouts is still unanswered after four weeks. Read here: set=a.428517497191403.88908.384741041569049&type=1&theater

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