The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) has welcomed the announcement by NSW Ministers Hodgkinson and Parker that decisions around the management of the NSW marine estate will now be based on science and in the long term interest of community, marine ecosystems and industry.
AFTA Chief Executive, Allan Hansard, said 'This is a step in the right direction. For too long Governments have been using marine parks as a form of political currency to the long term detriment of local recreational fishers, communities and the environment. It is good to see a common sense approach that aims to base decisions on marine parks on good public policy principles rather than short term political gain.'
A new Marine Estate Management Authority will replace the Marine Parks Authority and will be informed by an Expert Knowledge Panel, providing independent advice across ecology, economics, and social sciences.
We also welcome the decision to immediately allow line fishing from ocean beaches and headlands in sanctuary zones with the exception of identified sites for the protection of threatened species and the assessment of recreational fishing access to these areas by the Expert Knowledge Panel in coming months.
This process established by the NSW Government sets a good public policy precedent for marine park management for other states and for the federal Government.
'We urge the Federal Government to look at what the NSW Government is establishing and to rethink their Marine Park process to base it on a good public policy process.
'The Federal Government marine park process is now being fast tracked without proper stakeholder consultation on the management plans and will lock Australian recreational fishers out of 1.3 million kilometres of seas and oceans without any scientific, social or economic reason why. The Australian community and the marine environment deserves better.'