Minister for the Environment Tony Burke must finally tell the Australian fishing industry how much compensation will be laid on the table to offset the damage of locking out recreational and commercial fisherman from the newly created marine park network.
Minister Burke was today complaining that he couldn’t go to Rio to the G20 summit to coo about his new Marine park network because the Opposition needed to ask him vital questions regarding the level of compensation and impact the network will have on commercial and blue collar recreational fishermen.
The maps outlining the Marine parks have now been released and Minister Burke has no excuse for not answering Opposition questions, as all the information is now there.
Today I asked in the Senate to the Minister Representing the Minister for the Environment Senator Conroy:
“Is the Minister aware of the concerns raised by Allan Hansard, the CEO of the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation who represents 5 million recreational fishers, when he says the marine bioregional closures will lock fishers out of Australia’s oceans and many iconic fishing spots, and that “Mum, Dad and the kids would be banned from trying to catch fish?”
Senator Conroy dismissed my comments and basically said recreational fisherman would not suffer at all.
However as it has already been pointed out by Mr Hansard, anglers have been locked out of Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea, Geographe Bay, Perth Trench and Dampier. You cannot close these massive areas, and have it not affect recreational fishing.
I also asked:
“What form of compensation does the Government intend to offer recreational fishermen, fishing tackle shops, charter fishing operators, marine dealers, the outboard motor industry, and any other associated marine industries who have been let down badly by the Green-Labor alliance?”
Senator Conroy as expected evaded the question saying that there would be a case-by-case assessment process for compensation cases, but he refused to say who would be compensated and what industries would go without.
Minister Burke is accusing me of scaremongering but the evidence speaks for itself.
Already, Port Douglas charter company “Bianca” charters has lost $120,000 due to cancellations of charter fisherman from overseas.
Fishermen are concerned they will not be able to fish in the right spots and don’t want to spend money coming out here to fish in sub-par conditions.
The Government has to spell out once and for all if it intends to compensate fishing tackle shops, charter fishing operators, marine dealers, the outboard motor industry, and any other associated marine industries for the loss of business that will result from the lockout of both commercial and recreational fishers.
Burke should worry less about missing an overseas trip and now focus on how he’s going to answer these questions that remain as of yet unanswered as the fishing industry is left to sink.