On March 24, Peter Garrett announced the Areas For Further Assessment (AFFAs) for the Eastern Bioregional Planning Process.
He says, “As with other marine areas around the country, I expect that this process will lead to a balanced mix of both multiple use areas and no-take areas within the marine reserve network in which we work with stakeholders to secure a good conservation outcome while minimising social and economic impacts.”
Here is a summary of the guidelines for designing MPA No Fishing Zones for the Bioregional Planning Process on the DEWHA web site. The guidelines are quite explicit:
• Individual areas should, as far as practical, include continuous depth transects;
• Features should occur more than once within MPAs;
• Boundary lines should be simple, as much as possible following straight latitudinal/longitudinal lines. Size and shape should be orientated to account for inclusion of connectivity corridors and biological dispersal patterns within and across MPAs;
• Whole seafloor features should be included;
• They may also be used to protect habitat important for a threatened species.
Queensland has two AFFAs in the firing line; the enormous Coral Sea east of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as well as the hugely financially important Fraser fishery.
The Fraser AFFA starts just south of Indian Head on Fraser Island, covers to south of Double Island Point and then east a massive 200nm from just 3nm from the coast.
The fishing towns of Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach and Carlo Point host thousands of recreational boaties each year. The Fraser Coast is renowned as the best red emperor country in Queensland waters and this is the draw card which lures fishing tourists and their money to these small communities. Five charter operations, including overnight live aboard vessels are booked solid with fishing tourists.
The commercial line, trawl (prawn, scallop and stout whiting) and spanner crab fisheries employ many locals in the catching, handling, processing and transport of this high value catch. Much of this fresh, local seafood finds its way onto Queensland tables. The Fraser AFFA produces over 40% of Queensland’s sustainable spanner crab catch which employs locals and brings in valuable export dollars for Australia. Without a fair and reasonable Displaced Effort Policy (compensation), many commercial fishing families will lose their income, jobs, boats, houses and futures because of Garrett’s pursuit of Green preferences. And the rest of us will be eating Vietnamese catfish.
All these fisheries are sustainably managed through the ability of anglers to graze lightly over wide tracts of fishing country. Condensing fishing effort into small concentrated areas through no fishing zones would potentially create sustainability issues. Hardly a Green outcome.
GBRMPA spent over $40million last year on policing the Barrier Reef to stop Australians fishing in Australian waters. This is a huge cost to simply stop some anglers fishing. Not 1c of those $40million went on minimising sediment run off, improving water quality or halting global warming.
Over $200million has also been spent, so far, in compensating fishers and land-based activities which were affected by the GBRMP No Fishing Zones. How many of your tax dollars will be used to stop you going fishing in the Fraser AFFA? Garrett has given no indication what the cost of this round of No Fishing Zones will be.
A major concern for South East Queensland fishers is Displaced Effort. This is where anglers move to fish other grounds because their areas have been closed. Currently recreational anglers from all over Queensland tow their boats to Tin Can Bay or Carlo Point to go fishing. A mate of mine, Pepi Likoski, has actually bought a block of land at Tin Can and built a shed on it for the sole purpose of leaving his boat there so he can fish over the Wide Bay Bar. Will he be eligible for a Displaced Effort payment from Garrett?
Where will all these recreational anglers go if Fraser is closed down? Where will the pros who currently depart from Mooloolaba to fish Fraser locate? What about the pros from Tin Can Bay if they don’t receive adequate compensation? And the five large charter boats displaced out of Carlo and Tin Can? These are questions which must be answered by Garrett and DEWHA before any No Fishing Zones are created.
Displaced Effort leads to overcrowding in other areas. This is a fact which is never articulated by the Greens or measured in any of their lightweight studies that allegedly ‘prove’ that No Fishing Zones are better for the environment.
Anyone fishing Wide Caloundra will attest to the huge influx of new anglers who had previously fished south of Cape Moreton. These anglers were driven north by the new No Fishing Zones introduced through the Moreton Bay Marine Park rezoning. Given the levels of commercial line fishing in the Fraser area, this could create far more pressure in the Hards, Barwons and further south.
There is a simple process which you can follow to save your fishery. Fishing No Take Zones are implemented to assure this government receives Green preferences at the next election. If lots of anglers demonstrate to their local politicians that they will vote for the party which supports their continued access to their fishery, then local politicians in marginal seats will be banging on Garrett’s door to get him to back off on the No Fishing Zones. Simple.
Any closures at Fraser will affect you, directly or indirectly. Become involved in the process of saving your fishery. If it’s not your fishing spot closed today, it probably will be tomorrow. – Keith Hall
The Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, won plenty of support for stopping the Traveston Dam project, however his latest endeavour has been less welcomed: To stop commercial and recreational fishing from Double Island point to the north of the Maheno wreck on Fraser Island and up to 160km out to sea.
Does this out of touch Minister and his even more ill-informed and ignorant advisers have any idea what this sort of unprecedented ministerial prostitution could do to the whole area? Or is this a payback for Traveston, to balance the books?
Do they realise that to stop commercial fishing effects thousands of people not only in Tin Can Bay, but Rainbow Beach, Gympie, Maryborough and Hervey Bay – the whole of the Fraser Coast! Add to this the real threat that the recreational fishing in this area is on the chopping board also, do these so-called ‘advisers’ actually know that fishing is the biggest recreational sport in Australia?
Tin Can Bay in particular relies on the mix of a still viable commercial fishery along with generated income from recreational fishers. Go to the boat ramp on any weekend and it’s full, and a big percentage of the boats there go offshore. With the real threat to close down the inside of Fraser, or significantly cut it back, then what we’re left with is an empty car park!
Fishing in this area is well known throughout Queensland, it is one of the major tourism markets of this area. What will happen to all the small businesses in these areas, the bait and tackle shops, houseboat companies, fuel distributors, bakers, butchers, the list is endless. Add to these the boating industry and you have a monumental disaster waiting to happen.
Is the Government going to borrow more money to compensate these industries!
Do you want to eat those insipid imported prawns? I don’t. It was only a couple weeks ago that it was tabled to import beef from America, which received an immediate re buff from the meat industry. We already have their oranges and Christ only knows what else is being slipped into the country.
Is there a hidden agenda to close down our farming industries both on the land and in the water? All this in the name of global warming, or there something else going on? If we don’t stand up now and let these so called ‘caretakers’ of this country know how we feel, it will be too late! It is up to us to protect our waterways and country from ill-informed and ignorant advise.
It seems they are determined to extend the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park from its existing boundary right down the coast to join up with this proposed area. And then what will we do?
Mr Garrett it’s time to burn ‘the midnight oil’ and get it right. – Al BallardReads: 4888