Craig Warhurst

Fishing in marine park decision condemned

CONSERVATIONISTS have condemned the NSW Government decision to allow recreational fishing in marine park sanctuary zones including the Cape Byron Marine Park as they claim it contravenes scientific advice.

The joint announcement on Tuesday by Primary Industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson and Environment minister Robyn Parker followed an independent scientific audit commissioned by the O'Farrell government last year.

The immediate amnesty permits shore-based line fishing in sanctuary zones along the central section of Tyagarah Beach, near the mouth of Belongil Creek, between The Pass and Wategos Beach, along headlands and beaches in The Broken Head Nature reserve and The Moat at Lennox Head.

Recreational fishing in these areas is only permitted from the shore, not from boats.

When making the announcement Ms Parker said there was little or no scientific basis for preventing line fishing from land, that is, from the rock face or from the coastline.

Northern Rivers conservationist Dailan Pugh said the move misrepresents and contravenes the government's own scientific advice. "There is nowhere in the scientific audit document it says to allow fishing in marine park sanctuary zones," he said.

"When it came out we were pleased the audit actually supported an increase in the number of marine parks."

North Coast Environmental Council spokesman and keen fisherman and diver John Jeayessaid lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing a measure to prevent degradation of the environment.



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