Opinion: Minister’s ideological groper ban

Tara Moriarty MLC. Image courtesy of Facebook.

NSW Fisheries Minister Tara Moriarty yesterday dropped a bombshell announcement, banning fishing for eastern blue groper.

The announcement follows the illegal spearing of a blue groper off Cronulla, south of Sydney. 

In a statement released today, the Minister said: “With their bright-blue colour, alongside their placid and curious nature, there is little wonder why these beautiful big fish are so well-loved by our coastal communities.” 

The decision is unprecedented and very alarming. Fishing World can’t recall a time when fishing for an individual species has been outlawed simply because they’re cute. It was an idealogical decision and a decision, according to sources, taken with very little consultation or agreement from the public, advisory bodies, or within her own department.

The Minister has ignored her due diligence. She has ignored the science and instead pandered to fringe, anti-fishing minority groups. 

Meanwhile, Minister, what is being done about replenishing stocks of mulloway in NSW? What is being done to ensure stocks of kingfish and snapper remain sustainable? These are genuine concerns and, so far, action has been painfully slow. 

Let’s hope, if Minister Moriarty continues in her role, we have someone who listens to advisory bodies, listens to experts, implements proper consultation and makes decisions based on fact. 

This state has almost one million fishers, many of whom pay a license fee and as such expect rational decisions are made on their behalf. They expect a system of fisheries management where sustainability takes place over ideology. 

Sadly, this recent announcement will do very little to help NSW fish stocks and sets a dangerous precedent for more irrational decisions in the future.

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