New Proposed Marine Parks

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I am probably about to unleash a can of worms but after a beautiful drive to the country over the weekend I came home, back into civilization to find the news confronting me with more proposed Marine Parks.

To say the least I was shocked and horrified to find out they want to create some more marine parks from the inshore reefs off Wollongong, Port Hacking, Botany Bay, Sydney Harbour, Hawkesbury and Pittwater.

It started me on why they would even think to do this and what research they have to back it up. It frustrates me that they buy out commercial fisherman in Botany Bay, Sydney Harbour and other estuary systems, bag limits are currently being reduced and catch and release is becoming a huge trend amongst anglers. You would have to think our fish and its environment would be in the best shape that it could possibly be in not to mention the flow on effect of recent reduced bag limits that are being introduced.

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The Labor Sydney Harbour Fact Sheet as to why they want to introduce Marine Parks is a joke within itself I have copied it from the website and included it below:-

  • Sydney Harbour in total is home to 3000 marine species. 586 different species of fish have been recorded in the Harbour. This is triple the number of fish from the entire coast of the United Kingdom.
  • Green Sea Turtles, Little Penguins, Weedy Sea dragons and Humpback Whales all inhabit Sydney Harbour.
  • An elected NSW Labor Government will appoint an advisory committee for the Sydney Marine Park, drawing representatives from marine conservation, recreational fishers, marine science, scuba divers, Aboriginal people, commercial fishers, the tourism industry, surf lifesaving clubs and local councils.
  • The Advisory Committee will consult widely in preparing a zoning plan for the marine park, including a call for public submissions. The draft zoning plan will be delivered to government within twelve months of the declaration of the marine park. The draft zoning plan will then be put out for further public consultation, including public meetings, before a final zoning plan is adopted.
  • The creation of the Sydney Marine Park will allow the NSW Government to properly plan to balance the needs of the ecological wonder that is Sydney Harbour against the needs of Australia’s biggest and most vibrant international city.
  • Key threats include rising sea levels, micro contaminants that flow into the harbour through storm water, unregulated spear fishing, increased boating traffic and invasive species.”

Thinking of how it affects me personally were the numerous bream tournaments held on many of these proposed waterways which were all catch and release. ABT, BETS, Southern Bream Series & Hobie Kayak imagine not having any of these available where would the tournament scene end up and of course the flow on effect to the tackle industry.

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Being Wollongong based there are not many options to fish when the weather is bad. Lake Illawarra still has some 34 commercial fisherman licensed to fish, so it is very sporadic in its fishing quality and if too rough to head out wide and we are ban to fish the inshore reefs then we may as well sell the boat I reckon.

Given commercial fishing on Lake Illawarra we spent a lot of time teaching ourselves the sport of bream fishing on the Georges River/Botany Bay. I can’t believe this too will be out of reach for a lot of the land based and local fisherman.

Then I start thinking outside my own circle and start imaging how you would feel owning a charter/guiding business that operates these waterways with these proposals.

Does our fishing license money support these marine parks?

Can we as fisherman decide to use License money to fight and overturn these decisions?

There are many different users of the each waterway. Jo Starling recently wrote a fantastic article in Fish Life called “United We Fish”. A great read and if you haven’t read it yet then perhaps you should.

United We Fish, Divided We Fall, come on fishing fraternity whether you be a club, pub, game fishing, sports fishing, fly-fishing, spear fishing the list goes on. Lets get together and combine all our resources and hit this one head on. See if we can’t use some of our fishing license funds to do our own research to report the proper facts. If the government win, the future looks grim for our future generation.

Justin Sydney Harbour Kingfish

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