MONA Vale Beach – 45-minute drive north of Sydney’s CBD – has become the centre of a heated debate around a new proposal for creating an Aquatic Reserve which, if approved, will stop all forms of fishing.
The local swimming group along with other stakeholders have put together the proposal dubbed “Friends of Bongin Bongin Bay” with Bongin Bongin bay being the First Nation’s name for Mona Vale Basin.
However, the “Friends of Bongin Bongin Bay” have pushed their proposal to cover much more than just the Basin. The area stretches from south Bungan Beach all the way to north Mona Vale Beach and goes out 1km out to sea covering shy of 452,000m2 which directly affects many rock, beach and boat anglers as well as spearfishers.
In the current proposal it states: “It is important for the community’s physical and mental wellbeing that the Bay’s natural features are protected as they provide an important platform for all forms of recreational activities” of which it lists, swimming, surfing, snorkelling, diving, paddle boarding and kite-surfing.
With the exclusion of fishing and spearfishing in this excerpt indicates that those who fish or spearfish aren’t part of the community and do not deserve the physical and mental health benefits of enjoying the Basin. The Basin is only reserved for those who participate in the above-mentioned activities.
To expand on this divisive language the petition also states that “We (the Friends of Bongin Bongin Bay) believe that fishing and the collection of crustaceans, shellfish and vegetation from the foreshore is impacting upon the biodiversity and the local ecosystem”. There is absolutely no scientific studies, evidence or proof. It’s simply pointing the finger at anglers and spearfishers as being the “problem.” Sure, anglers and spearfishers can go somewhere else but we shouldn’t have to.
Why, as fee-paying anglers who pay their fees to support their fishing environment be subject to such discrimination? Can we not exercise our right harvest sustainably caught seafood? Our method of fishing with a line or spear is selective hunting. We take what we need and respect where it came from. Yet, a group of swimmers are wanting to completely close off fishing in this area because “they believe” fishing and spearfishing has a negative impact the environment.
This is a small area of concern for many anglers however, should this be approved, it will empower other like-minded groups to close fishing in other areas of Sydney, NSW and Australia.
To see move info about the proposal visit www.keepsydneyfishing.com.au
Please share on your socials and create more noise against this proposal and painting anglers and spearfishers as the “problem”