A Broome fisherman has labelled the Federal Government’s marine park plan a politically driven agenda with little regard for the environment.
Commercial fisherman Bob Masters said he was “gobsmacked” about the Government’s announcement earlier this month it would establish a vast network of marine parks around Australia including 20 areas which stretch from the Kimberley to WA’s south coast.
Mr Masters said he believed most WA fisheries were managed sustainably.
“I’m confused with the Commonwealth and their marine park process because fisheries are already protected by good management structures,” he said.
Mr Masters said the Government was sending mixed messages to people about protecting the environment.
He said the Government aimed to protect marine biodiversity in Environment Minister Tony Burke’s portfolio but had opened waters up to trawling through Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig’s portfolio.
He said trawling damaged the environment and the plan would affect fisheries groups.
Mr Masters said reduced access would mean 70 per cent of seafood would be imported from overseas. He said the plan did not address problems such as pollution and oil spillages.
Mr Burke said the marine parks would affect about one per cent of commercial fishing activity, and announced the Government would aim to provide a $100 million compensation package for businesses.
Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland said the anglers’ advocate was disappointed with the Government decision to lock 650,000 recreational fishers out of vast areas without “specific justification”.
But Australian Marine Conservation Society director Darren Kindleysides welcomed the “landmark” announcement.