Anglers call for release of Marine Park report

ARFF - Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation
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Anglers call for release of Marine Park report - NSW’s one million recreational anglers are calling for the urgent release of an independent report on line fishing in marine park sanctuary zones.

An ‘expert panel’ was commissioned by the Government more than a year ago to investigate the effects of line fishing from beaches and rocky headlands in the state’s marine parks network.

The report has been submitted to Cabinet early this year, but has not yet been made public.

NSW anglers want the report’s findings and Governments final decision to be publicly released. This call follows a concerted scare campaign by anti-fishing groups and media comments by the state’s new Environment Minister.
'It is vital the independent report be released as swiftly as possible,' Allan Hansard, Managing Director of the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, said today.

'The misinformation and scare tactics being used by anti-fishing groups have gone on for long enough. It’s time now for the science to be revealed, and start understanding and improving the management of our marine environment.
'We don’t know what the report has to say. But we support a science-based approach to these issues and are committed to management of our fisheries resources to be based on science.

'If the science in the independent report clearly shows that line fishing from beaches or rocky headlands pose unacceptable risks to our environment, we would obviously accept the need to limit, modify or restrict fishing activities. Likewise, if the science revealed that there were few or no risks, we’d expect the Government and the anti-fishing activists to support the continuation of sustainable recreational fishing activities within these existing sanctuary zones covered by the moratorium.

'The fact is we don’t know what the report says. The Government has been sitting on this information for months. This has resulted in significant confusion in the general community due to the irresponsible and extremist scare campaigns being run by the anti-fishing movement. It’s also causing rifts between the recreational fishing sector and the Government due to anglers continued uncertainty about policy agendas.

'It’s time now that the report’s finding be released so that we can institute the appropriate policy and management responses. Again, the recreational fishing community is completely upfront about being committed to science-based management of our fisheries. But we need to know what the science is. Thus NSW’s recreational fishing community is calling for Premier Mike Baird, Environment Minister Rob Stokes and Fisheries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson to immediately release the expert panel’s findings.' Mr Hansard said.