Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Plan Will Protect Our Marine Parks

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Plan Will Protect Our Marine Parks

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Wallace Federal Member for Fisher

WE all know that the Sunshine Coast has the best beaches and the best seafood in Australia.

We also have the largest long-line tuna and prawn fishing fleets on the east coast.

Fishing on the Sunshine Coast generates $42.5 million in direct sales every year, with more than $30 million in exports. Throughout South-East Asia people are serving Mooloolaba prawns and Coral Sea tuna, caught right here.

Local fishing, though, is about much more than a successful industry; it is part of our culture. Between here and the Gold Coast there are 140,000 recreational boats.

For more than a century Sunshine Coast residents have exercised their right to throw a line over the side of their tinnie. Today, five million Australians are recreational fishermen.

The ocean off the Sunshine Coast has been bountiful but it is not a bottomless resource. It must be carefully maintained. We have to protect our reefs and sustain our marine life, while ensuring that local people and businesses can use their boats for fishing, diving and tourism.

That is why we need Marine Parks. In July the Commonwealth Government released its new draft plan for managing these parks.

The previous plan, created by Julia Gillard's Labor Government, increased the size of our marine parks to almost 40% of Commonwealth waters and locked commercial fishermen out from more than a third of that area.

Everyday recreational fishers were banned from an area of ocean the size of the Northern Territory with no environmental benefit in sight.

The new plan dramatically increases the area available to recreational fishers, opening up 97% of the Commonwealth waters which are within 100km of the shoreline. This includes fantastic sites in the Coral Sea like the Cato, Wreck, Shark and Vema reefs. …

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