THE announcements from both sides of federal politics they now want to do something to help protect dugongs and turtles from illegal hunting has been a long time coming. When and if they actually follow through on their promises we will have to wait and see. The fact there are no sea ranger programs in operation in Queensland is a sad indictment on the decision-makers. Similar programs exist in the Northern Territory and they are not only a great deterrent to illegal fishing, but a source of employment for the indigenous community which young people can aspire to. The Coalition has promised to contribute $2.6 million to fund an indigenous sea ranger program in the Far North and also clear ghost nets from the marine park. Labor has been working on a plan to empower traditional owners with the responsibility of patrolling their local waters if they sign up to a marine resource management plan. It is clear that many traditional owners themselves are fed up with illegal fishing which is killing turtles and dugongs unncessesarily. It is commendable to see these proud people stand up and voice their concerns for the future of the animals. The time for politicians to act is now and regardless of who wins this Saturday’s federal election, we now need action and not words. Illegal fishing has been allowed to go on unabated for far too long with the toothless authorities largely standing by.