Fishing fight goes national
THE Gympie Region’s fishing, marine, fishing tourism and support industries are preparing a national lobbying effort against conservation pressures which they say would shut down Tin Can Bay and ruin much of the Gympie region economy.
And they say the effort will begin tomorrow, with flyers they plan to distribute to visitors over the long Labour Day weekend.
The commercial fishers whose lobbying muscle helped preserve mangrove fish nursery areas along much of the coast, kick starting Australia’s fledgling conservation movement in the 1960s, say that same movement now threatens not only their livelihoods, but the lifestyles and incomes of most of us.
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They are joined by the amateur fishers who are credited by the Noosa Parks Association as providing the electoral muscle, in every Queensland electorate, to help them intimidate the Bjelke-Petersen Government into establishing the Great Sandy National Park.
Fishing and marine industry representatives told of their fears at this week’s Gympie Regional Council meeting.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett has promised “a fair dinkum process” in reviewing fishing rights off Fraser Island and the Cooloola Coast, part of a plan to establish a national network of Marine Protected Areas.
The area off our coastline, from Double Island Point to about three-quarters of the way up Fraser Island and out many kilometres past the Continental Shelf, is one of Australia’s most prolific fisheries.
It supports commercial fishing, prawning and scalloping operations from Mooloolaba to Bundaberg, as well as all the fishing tourism industries of the Cooloola Coast, including accommodation, supplies, mechanical and professional services, charter boat operations, bait and tackle shops, boat builders, marine accessories shops and even restaurants and fish and chip stores.
Bay Chamber of Commerce president Peter Todd and fishing advocate Michael Garrahy addressed council this week, along with marine supply, fishing club and trawling representatives.
More details of the claimed threat and the campaign against it will be published tomorrow.