LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has commended recreational and commercial fishers for putting aside their differences and uniting to fight the government’s planned closure of the Coral Sea.
Mr Entsch met with members of the Australian Marine Alliance (AMA) in Canberra on Wednesday where they launched a full-blown campaign against the Marine Park network that will exclude both commercial and recreational fishers from Australia’s coastline.
“It’s fantastic that the commercial and recreational sectors have come together on this,” Mr Entsch said. “I’ve spoken to many local stakeholders recently and it is exactly what’s needed.”
The AMA is made up of boating, marine, recreational fishing, outboard, aquaculture and commercial fishing sectors. A half-page ad in the Australian newspaper last week outlined their case and yesterday representatives stood side by side to say “enough is enough”.
“I’d encourage anybody who has the slightest interest in preserving the fishing rights of Australians to get on board with this,” Mr Entsch said. “We have to go about it the same way as this highly-influential American group PEW, getting support from all corners of society.
“You can see the dishonesty of their whole campaign – it corrupted the process so that 99.8 per cent of the 487,434 submissions to the Marine Park proposal were generated through email campaigns and most of these were from overseas.”
Mr Entsch pointed to a recent regulatory impact statement from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, which purports to show minimum impacts.
“This is just a report of convenience, trying to justify Environment Minister Tony Burke’s decision,” Mr Entsch said.
“It is totally skewed the report shows an impact on Cairns of between $3.7 and $4.1 million, yet the charter fishing industry which will be heavily affected – is alone worth about $60 million a year to Cairns.
“It also doesn’t add up when the draft interim ABARES report showed impacts on some Coral Sea fisheries of between 51 and 100 per cent.”
Businesses from all sectors need to get involved, from restaurants and caterers association to independent grocery stores, because all will be affected, Mr Entsch said.
He will soon be producing a petition titled ‘Join the Fight for your Right to Fish’ and will be calling for signatures from people in Leichhardt stay posted.
Click here to see the AMA advertisement that was published in The Australian.