Local residents at Port Wakefield, north of Adelaide, say proposed marine park zones may kill off the town’s businesses.
The fishing industry is one of the main incomes for the town and locals are worried a decline in visiting fishers could mean businesses are forced to close.
Third generation fisherman Bart Butson is one local fighting to keep the town alive.
“We don’t want to lose businesses from our community, we don’t want to lose people,” he said.
Under the proposed marine park zones, just five per cent of the state’s industry is expected to be impacted, but Mr Butson says the protected zone at Port Wakefield starts just 100m from the boat ramp.
“We’re looking at 50 per cent or greater displacement and that’s just devastating,” Mr Butson said.
Businesses in the town have told 7News they are already struggling to remain open, and the marine parks proposal could force many to close, with even the school under threat.
“Without the income coming through, almost everybody will be affected,” Mr Butson said.
Meanwhile, the South Australian Marine Parks Management Alliance says it has legal advice indicating those affected by the marine parks will be more wide-spread than just commercial fishers.
Alliance chairman Gary Morgan said anyone holding a licence, authorisation or permit under any Act could be eligible to apply for compensation if they are negatively affected by the parks.
“This development means that all businesses ancillary to the commercial fishing industry, as well as impacted tourism operators, licensed hospitality businesses, licensed fuel suppliers, and the list goes on, all now have a mechanism to seek recompense for impacts on their businesses,” Dr Morgan said.
Consultation on the government’s proposed marine park zones will end on October 22.