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Marine reserves are good for recreational fishing

CAIRNS: Contrary to the claims of scaremongers, the proposed Coral Sea Marine Reserve will have little to no effect on recreational fishers, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

ACF’s submission on the federal government’s proposal to establish the world’s largest national network of marine reserves says the protected areas would safeguard ocean life and the coastal lifestyles so many Australians hold dear.

“With the proposed Coral Sea marine reserve’s green zone starting 350 kilometres offshore from Cairns, it will not affect the vast majority of recreational fishers,” said ACF’s healthy oceans campaigner Chris Smyth in Cairns.

“People will still be able to fish in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, on the popular Cairns Seamount and other reefs off Cairns and in half the Coral Sea Marine Reserve.

“Recreational fishers will also benefit because of the removal of bottom trawling from almost the entire Coral Sea Marine Reserve and commercial tuna longlining from a large area along the eastern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“Recent scientific research around the Barrier Reef found causal links between marine reserves and the subsequent recovery of ocean life and its spill over into fished areas.

“Most people living on the coast will see through the wildly exaggerated and unfounded claims made by scaremongers about the economic impact of marine reserves

“While some commercial fishers will need to make changes to where or how they fish or may choose to leave the industry, the government will provide up to $100 million in funding to help them adjust to the national network.

“Australian and international scientists agree there is a need to reduce cumulative pressure on oceans from fishing, the oil and gas sector and climate change.

“ACF congratulates the Coalition for starting this process and the Government for taking this historic step forward by proposing a world class network of marine reserves,” Mr Smyth said. “We urge the Government to enshrine the network in law.”