Marine reserves threat looms large again

According to Nationals Senator Ron Boswell, fishos should prepare themselves for the implementation of large marine reserves around the Australian coastline.

According to a press release today from Senator Boswell’s office, Prime Minister Julia Gillard “has signalled that she will proceed with one promise: a vast network of marine reserves right around the Australian coastline.”

In her speech opening the 43rd Parliament, setting out the new Government’s program, Governor General Quentin Bryce said: “To better protect our most sensitive marine habitats and assist the long-term viability of our ocean based industries, the Government will seek to build a representative network of protected areas in Australian waters.”

Since the outcome of the federal election has been finalised, fresh concerns have been raised about the instigation of coastal marine reserves out to the 200 nautical mile limit as part of a pre-election deal between Labor and The Greens.

Prior to the election Greens policies called for 30 per cent no-take zones across Australia’s territorial waters, 100 per cent no-take for the entire Coral Sea, compulsory state zoning to matching federal bans, and removal of the tax break on diesel costs for the fishing fleet.

Senator Boswell says that from July next year the minority Labor government will need the support of The Greens in the Senate to govern, and will therefore have to give them some policy wins.

He said fishermen – professional and recreational – had to prepare now for the battle of their lives to protect their livelihoods – or their precious pastime.


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