Fish stock fall wor­ries sci­en­tist

Townsville Bulletin - - News -

THERE has been a rapid de­cline in fish stocks in some Aus­tralian waters, a lead­ing marine sci­en­tist says.

‘‘ We are down to bag lim­its of one – how is that a sus­tain­able recre­ational fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ence?’’ Pro­fes­sor Jessica Meeuwig from the Univer­sity of West­ern Aus­tralia said in Can­berra yes­ter­day.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is set to de­liver on an elec­tion prom­ise by cre­at­ing a na­tional net­work of pro­tected marine ar­eas fol­low­ing more than two years of dis­cus­sions with the fish­ing in­dus­try and other stake­hold­ers.

Pro­pos­als to cre­ate marine sanc­tu­ar­ies in­vari­ably at­tract strong ob­jec­tions from both pro­fes­sional and recre­ational fish­er­men.

Prof Meeuwig­said marine sanc­tu­ar­ies re­sulted in a 200 per cent in­crease in fish stocks which flowed into non-pro­tected ar­eas, ben­e­fit­ing com­mer­cial fish­ers.

There was a myth that sanc­tu­ar­ies were not needed be­cause fish­ing in Aus­tralia was still good, Prof Meeuwig said.

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