Today’s advertisement in The Australian, which was funded by most of the marine industry, is the first attack on the Government’s new bio-marine regional parks that take up 3.1 million square kilometres of sea around Australia, Nationals Senator Ron Boswell said today.
'Along with the advertisement in The Australian, the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation is also running a series of ads headed 'Don’t Lock Us Out', which are now running in fishing magazines all around Australia, and will soon run in the mainstream media.
'The fishing and marine industries have no other recourse but to take the fight to the Government by engaging in a costly and drawn out campaign. The 3.1 million square kilometre marine reserves are the largest in the world and make up 70 percent of the world’s total marine parks. They have locked out countless recreational and commercial fishermen, not to mention charter fishermen, who have been denied access to fishing in these 'Green Zones' with their customers.
'So it has come to this: where these groups are so incensed that they are willing to put up their own money to fight the marine park plans. Minister for the Environment Tony Burke asked a rhetorical question after the marine park maps were finalised: 'Should the final declaration be made?'
'If he has any political sense, he will drop these plans like a hot potato. There are 5 million blue-collar recreational fishermen who are all against this idea. There are bait and tackle shops, marine dealers, and outboard motor shops – all of these shops will be used as campaign headquarters that will distribute material against the lockout.
'This will be an Australia-wide campaign by all sections of the marine industry who are sick of international green lobby groups like PEW coming to Australia and shutting down their industry.
'And in a ridiculous twist, 'Sea Shepherd', a group legally classified as pirates, have offered to patrol this area to make sure this farce is enforced. There is so much uncertainty in the fishing and marine industry already. It doesn’t need this, yet the Government is still refusing to provide certainty. It promises an inadequate amount of compensation in the form of 100 million dollars to the fishing industry, but doesn’t say which sections of that industry
will be eligible.
'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. It needs to set a reasonable sum, not the one it has in mind.
'Also, given the fact there is no scientific basis for the closures, it needs to provide evidence – and not just slogans – as to why these parks should exist. It hasn’t done this, nor will it ever, as there is no evidence to support the closures.
'When I tried to have this matter referred to the Committee for Rural and Regional Affairs, my motion was voted down in the Senate. This just goes to show how determined the Government is to keep the fishing and marine
industry in the dark.
'Tony Burke is about to reap the whirlwind. He is severely mistaken if he thinks ads like the one in The Australian today are a one-off, and that the problem will go away. The fishing and marine industry is fed up, and are just
gearing up for a major fight.'