Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has confirmed that the Federal Government will enhance protection of the Coral Sea under the Marine Bioregional Planning Process but will likely avoid ratifying the extremist anti-fishing proposals being put forward by hard-core green groups.
A well-attended protest meeting held in Cairns earlier this month against the no-fishing campaign being pushed by the oil-money funded Pew organization was the start of what will likely be a long and bitter fight over access to the Coral Sea.
Garrett’s office sent an official response to a letter of concern sent by Sherry Donaldson, chief executive officer of the Australian Marine Industries Federation.
Garrett’s reply – reprinted below – basically confirms that the likely outcomes will be:
(1) More marine protected areas generally around Australia based on representative bioregions (as in NSW, and in accord with national and international commitments and undertakings) by 2012.
(2) There may be some increase in ‘’protection” of the Coral Sea, possibly through establishment of new Commonwealth marine reserves, subject to stakeholder consultation.”
The letter does not indicate any government support for the Pew plan.
Fishing World understands that the tackle and boating industries, led by RecFish Australia, are working together to defeat the extremist proposals being put forward by groups such as Pew.
More info can be found at http://www.qgfa.asn.au/coral.php and http://www.afma.gov.au/environment/planning/PEW.htm.
Update 14-5-09: In the latest development, Fishing World has just been alerted to a press release issued by Pew, titled Coral Sea Heritage Park Myths Busted!. In this release Pew and other green groups attempt to put forward their version of “positive” spin on the issue. In a nutshell the controversial release says the Coral Sea proposal will not affect anglers who never leave the coastline – too bad for those who might’ve saved up to fund a fishing charter to the area’s remote outer reefs…
Here’s a snippet of the release: “It’s very expensive to take a charter boat to the Coral Sea and takes several days on a powerful boat to make the distant trip practical. It’s a pursuit for the wealthy few not the casual weekend angler.”
The complete release can be viewed below.
Fishing World will keep you up-to-date with any further changes to this story.
Minister Garrett’s letter of reply to AMIF is linked below.