The Australian Government is on the brink of locking all recreational anglers out of over 1.3 million square kilometres of Australia’s oceans for Marine Parks. These areas include internationally renowned iconic Game and Sport fishing locations such as Shark, Osprey, Marion and Kenn Reefs in the Coral Sea and Geographe Bay, Perth Trench and Dampier in Western Australia. The areas are frequented and experienced by not only Australian recreational anglers but also recreational anglers from all over the world.
Australia’s recreational anglers have always supported appropriate marine conservation measures based on sound science. In fact, Australian recreational anglers are renowned for their work in marine habitat restoration and marine conservation. However, we have not been provided with any justification as to why recreational anglers should be locked out of these areas.
The Government’s proposed ‘Lock out’ approach to Marine Parks is in response to multinational lobbying lead by the Pew Foundation. Pew has supported a multimillion dollar advocacy and media campaign in Australia that is uncompromising in its approach to ‘lock’ recreational anglers ‘out’ of vast areas of Australia’s oceans.
We have one last opportunity to turn this proposal around and get the Government to base their decisions on science rather than the strong-arming of the anti-fishing lobby. The Australian Government is soon starting a 60-day submission period after which the Government will make a final decision on Marine Park boundaries. If left unchanged, the Government proposal will see these areas ‘locked up’ to recreational fishing forever.
An organisation called 'Keep Australia Fishing’ has been established to manage a ‘Don’t Lock Us Out’ campaign including a ‘write in’ petition to the Australian government. The petition asks the Australian Government not to lock recreational anglers out of Marine Parks, rather to reconsider their proposal and assess the establishment of Marine Parks on sound science.
We are asking for the support of IGFA members to help us send a strong message to the Australian Government, by writing to the Government directly or by going to Keep Australia Fishing and join the ‘online write in’ petition.
We fear that if we cannot turn the Australian Government’s proposal around it will set a disturbing precedent, not only for future Marine Park decisions in Australia but for Marine Park decisions internationally. We must not let this happen!
With your help we will not only keep Australia fishing but also help keep the rest of the world fishing.
International Game Fish Association website