From the VR Fish Desk
  |  First Published: April 2011

VRFish – The Victorian Recreational Fishing Peak Body, representing the Victorian Recreational Fishing Community, welcomes the report into Marine Parks in Victoria released by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO).

The report clearly shows that Marine Parks and their managers have totally failed to achieve the benefits to the marine environment claimed. However the problem should not be entirely lumped on the managers of a system that, in reality, cannot be effectively managed.

The ideals surrounding marine protected areas just do not work and should be abandoned in favour of a broader and much more effective system of management that extends from the catchment to the coast.

As highlighted in VAGO report, the marine environment has no tangible boundaries between protected areas and the other marine areas indicating the ideals behind pockets of ‘marine protection’ is very limited and cannot ever be truly effective.

The VAGO report went on to say “the most effective way to manage environmental threats is through integrated policy and planning that considers the whole marine environment and involves the key stakeholders involved in its management”

The call, in the lead up to the Victorian state election of 2010, from environmental groups to increase the area of the state’s marine environment to be locked-up, cited research from the various state government agencies to justify their claim. The report from the VAGO must certainly bring into question the validity of this research and hence justifies VRFish’s stance to have the plan for extended marine lock-outs squashed.

VRFish call on the Victorian State Government to work with all stake-holders to develop a more holistic approach to the environmental management of our marine areas that would ultimately replace the piecemeal system of Marine Protected Areas that are ineffective and only serve to divide the community.

The government and the people of Victoria have been provided with evidence to suggest a better system of marine environmental management is needed, so now might be the time to investigate and implement a plan for real benefit to our marine environment that includes everyone and excludes nobody.

VRFish welcomes the opportunity implicit in the VAGO findings to work with government, managers, environmental groups and the entire fishing industry for the betterment of Victoria’s marine environments.

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