Saturday, March 2, 2024
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Meeting to oppose NT fishing restrictions

NT fishos attending a meeting of the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the Northern Territory (AFANT) this month will be sending a clear message of opposition to the Federal Government on proposed no-fishing areas off the NT coast. 

“If Peter Garrett has his way there will be a number of no fishingzones declared off the coast of the Northern Territory by the end ofthis year,” explained AFANT President Warren de With.

“AFANT in particular and Territory recreational fishers in general have been very strong advocates for sensible marine protection up here but Minister Garrett’s blind, one-size-fits-all approach to the Commonwealth’s marine protected area program and his insistence that there will be no-fishing zones off our coast make it extremely difficult for us to work with him.”

“We have encouraged the development of multi-use Marine Protected Areas where recreational fishing is allowed and we have demonstrated in the past that we will support areas where various levels of restrictions, including fishing exclusions, are placed on recreational fishing where they are fully justified — the Territory’s Cobourg Marine Park is a good example.”

“Our view though is that no-fishing zones in productive fishing areas should only be used if it can be clearly demonstrated that no other approaches will provide the level of protection required.”

“There has to be a proper assessment of any risk that recreational fishing may pose before imposing restrictions and Peter Garrett’s Department has not even started to work out what that may be — they haven’t even talked to us about how the risk might be assessed yet.”

“We invited Minister Garrett to attend out AGM so he could explain his decisions and hear the views of Territory fishers but he has declined our invitation.”

“We are going to make sure he is made aware of what happens at the meeting though so it is vitally important that fishers come along, hear what is proposed and send a clear message to Canberra of where they stand on the issue.”

“The NT Government has given us a commitment that it will not establish no-fishing zones in waters under its control and Fisheries Minister Kon Vatskalis has publicly opposed the Commonwealth proposal but, as Peter Garrett said in the media a few months ago, these are not Northern Territory waters.”

It seems he can override the wishes of both the NT Government and the people of the NT if he chooses,” de With said.

AFANT’s 2010 Annual General Meeting will be held at 10:00 am on Sunday14 March at the old Aviation Institute building, Charles Eaton Drive,Marrara.

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