Edi­tor’s com­ment:

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

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.

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