The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) broadly welcomes the Qld Government’s future plan for the Great Sandy Straights Marine Park as a good starting point for reform and inclusion of all sectors.
The Great Sandy Marine Park is located in the Wide Bay-Burnett Region and extends from Double Island Point in the south to Baffle Creek in the north covering an area of approximately 6,000 square kilometres and includes Hervey Bay, the Great Sandy Strait, Tin Can Inlet and Queensland coastal waters (seaward to three nautical miles).
AFTA always take the opportunity to support actions that grow potential for recreational fishing and whilst the Green Zones in The Great Sandy Marine Park have increased from 3.9% to 12.8 % it remains as one of the lowest green zone percentages among other marine parks in the country and affords reasonable opportunity for recreational fishers
However, AFTA hold real concerns the proposed increased Green Zone areas have taken key safe recreational fishing grounds that are accessible to smaller boats and support fishing tourism such as:
- Four mile off Bundaberg,
- Green zone area off Woodgate,
- Northeast corner of Big Woody NMP16,
- Extension of green zone MNP10 on the outer banks area,
- The extension of Wolf Rock zone to take in the Pinnacles area
- Shore bird beach closures inside of Fraser Island (Kagari)
In relation to net free areas AFTA strongly suggest that netting closures will exponentially increase netting pressure on the upper Mary River that feeds the Sandy straights and the Kolan and Burnett rivers in the Bundaberg region.
In recognising the significance of these long overdue reforms, all government policy must be based on a triple bottom line outcome, the environment, the economy, and the community with this region generating over $386m p.a. in tourism of which $35m is contributed by the recreational fishing sector surpassing the $29m commercial fishing and we feel with correct consultation recreational fishing tourism could be increased exponentially and AFTA will be lobbying the government on the above for the best outcome for our members and the wider fishing public.
Whilst AFTA does not seek to represent the commercial fishing sector, we recognise the importance of an Australian Seafood Industry supplying fresh seafood to Australians and sustaining Australian jobs just as recreational fishers contribute to the economy through local jobs throughout the tackle trade and providing the staple diet of fishers who partake in recreational fishing.
AFTA encourages all our members and recreational fishers to consider the above and have their say on these changes to The Great Sandy Marine Park through the survey below.
For further information or media comment:
AFTA Qld Director, Kord Luckus (Wilson Tackle) 0408 984 427
AFTA Independent Chair, The Hon Bob Baldwin, 0419 694 620