Green groups angry about lock-out map

ANTI-ANGLING activists are claiming a map that reveals the potential for a massive increase in no fishing zones is “bogus” and “propaganda”.

National advocacy group Keep Australia Fishing (KAF) recently compiled a map showing areas around the nation that environment groups have highlighted as needing “further protection”.

The map achieved national media coverage, with a page 2 story in The Australian on Monday, August 12. See coverage HERE and HERE.

According to KAF, the map was compiled by collating information from environment group websites and marine park submissions.

However, it is understood green groups are labelling the map as “bogus”. A small group of pro-lockout activists have made comments on the KAF Facebook page claiming the map is “propaganda” and “scare mongering”.

A spokesman for KAF today told Fisho that all members of the public are welcome to have their say about marine protection issues but strongly denied claims the map was inaccurate.

“A lot of time was spent researching relevant data and assessing the areas the various environment groups have earmarked for future closures and/or lock-ups,” the KAF spokesman said.

“Then we simply transposed all that data on a map and made the result available to the general public. We used information provided by the environment groups – it’s all their info, not ours.

“If there are areas we have highlighted that the environment groups are unhappy about, then we welcome input from them so the record can be set straight.

“We are happy for Pew, the AMCS, the ACF, the Save Our Coral Sea people and so on to look at our map and tell us exactly what they want to see locked up.

“The fact is we just used their collected info – all of which is publicly available. Thus it is hard to see how the map can be considered ‘bogus’ or inaccurate.”


The map collated by rec fishing groups showing areas green groups have collectively slated for future closure.

The KAF spokesman highlighted an AMCS submission for expanded marine protection in WA’s North West and the Top End as an example of how the map was created.

“The AMCS provided detailed maps in their submission to the federal Government showing areas in the north of the country. On the maps the AMCS listed 43 areas they nominate as being ‘critical gaps in the marine sanctuary network proposed by the Australian Government for the (North and North-West) planning region)’.

“We put that info, along with the same sort of info from various other groups in different parts of the country, on our map to create a national perspective on what the environment lobby is wanting regarding fishing bans.”

The KAF spokesman also provided details on an ACF submission calling for a 700 per cent increase – from 4 per cent to at least 30 per cent – in marine protection off the NSW and southern Queensland coast.

“Again, this info is publicly available. The ACF submission was lodged in February 2012 and is freely available on the Environment Department website. We simply transposed what the ACF said it wanted onto our map.

“If the green groups have changed their minds about the areas we have collated, then we would ask that they advise us and we’ll amend the map.”

Allan Hansard, the MD of the Australian Recreational Fishing Federation (ARFF), which worked with KAF on assessing and studying the map, said it was understandable that green groups were annoyed about the scale of the lock-up plans being released.

“Put together on a map, the size of the areas the environment groups want closed is pretty mind-blowing. My guess is that they didn’t realise the magnitude of what they are collectively proposing. It really does look very scary and extremist.

“Having this map released is probably something of a PR disaster for the green groups, considering how close the election is. But that’s not KAF or ARFF’s problem. If the people from Pew, the AMCS and so on want to sit down with us and go through in detail the areas they want earmarked for lock outs, then we are more than willing to oblige. Till then, however, we can only go on what they have already publicly released.”

Fisho will provide updates if and when the environment groups contact ARFF and KAF for meetings on the proposed lock-out extensions.

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The AMCS maps from its submission to the Government in November 2011 showing 43 areas it lists as “critical gaps” in marine sanctuary areas in the Kimberley and NT.


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