Fishos not giving up fight
THE fight is not over for the local fishing industry which could be locked out from the Coral Sea under the Federal Government’s proposed Coral Sea marine park.
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has launched a petition “Don’t Lock Us Out” in a plea to the Government to stop the marine park and promote sustainable fishing.
Saltaire Charters owner and skipper Damien Colette has been operating out of Port Douglas for the last 10 years and going out to the Coral Sea during marlin season and said the Government has yet to show the evidence behind the proposal.
“I can’t see why they want to close down the Coral Sea at all, going out there year after year I haven’t seen any decline in the fishing or the reef systems out in the Coral Sea,” he said.
“I’ve listened to a lot of the talks about the Coral Sea and there’s been no scientific evidence the greens or the Government have brought forward to warrant the closing down of the Coral Sea.
“All the marine experts I’ve heard have all said that leaving it open would not harm it in any way and I haven’t seen any research that indicated there is a problem with the Coral Sea and with no noticeable fish decline out there.”
The proposal has already damaged the reputation for the upcoming marlin fishing season and Mr Colette said if it does go ahead it will damage not only business but people’s chance to experience the Coral Sea.
“With the talk of the Coral Sea proposed zone people are not booking because they are not sure what’s going to happen and so the trips out to the Coral Sea have been cancelled,” he said.
“I do extended trips out in the Coral Sea during the marlin season from October to December and Coral Sea bookings normally takes up a month of that time but have been cancelled and I’ve got vacancies.”
Mr Colette said commercial fishing will be the most affected if the marine park does go ahead and for no reason.
“There’s only a small number of commercial fishers that do out go out there and the Coral Sea is a huge area and the northern region does rely on fishing from the Coral Sea,” he said.
“Sustainable fishing should be done through government licensing, they should know who is going out there from the licences they’ve given out.”
Warren Entsch’s petition will be circulated around businesses and can be found online www.warren-entsch.com.au and signatures need to be collected by August 10.