Radical agendas the ‘threat to fishing'
CONSERVATION movement attempts to ban much of Australia's commercial and recreational fishing effort showed the influence of extremists with hidden agendas, Gympie Chamber of Commerce was told yesterday.
Marine Queensland CEO Don Jones told the chamber's networking breakfast at Gympie RSL Club that many objections to fishing had nothing to do with sustainable fisheries management.
He was commenting on marine industry fears linked to the current review of Australian fishing rights being conducted by the federal Environment Department.
The review includes assessment of a large and economically significant area off the Cooloola Coast, the source of most local seafood from Mooloolaba to Bundaberg.
Mr Jones said fishing appeared to be a victim of a kind of militant vegetarianism.
“I was interviewed on Radio National with representatives of the Marine Conservation Society and most of their arguments were about the claimed cruelty of fishing, not the appropriate management of fisheries.
“The Greens seem to have focused their information on urban populations who may have a tendency to eat coral trout while discussing the closing down of fisheries.”
Mr Jones said government officials involved in the declaration of Green Zones in Moreton Bay had admitted that fishing was not the major threat, compared to pollution from land run-off. They were not addressing that issue because it was “too hard”, he said.
The meeting was also addressed by Gympie marine business operator Frank Watson, who is campaigning against the current fishing rights review, which is being overseen by Environment Minister Peter Garrett.