New marine zones keep fishers onside

The Australian State Government has created 14 new Marine Protected Areas in the Bruny bio-region but fish and other sea products will still be able to be taken from most areas.

Primary Industries and Water Minister David Llewellyn said the creation of the new protection zones backed up the recommendations made by the state’s top planning body in July.

But Mr Llewellyn was quick to reassure fishers they would still have access to the new MPAs although the no-take boundaries of the existing reserves at Tinderbox and Zone A at Ninepin will be extended.

Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishermens Association spokesman Rodney Treloggen said his organisation supported these MPAs.

“Our industry is currently engaged in projects designed to help maintain biodiversity and ecosystems in our coastal waters,” Mr Treloggen said.

“Simply locking up areas and not addressing real problems will not be successful in the long term.”

He said the conservation movement calling for no-take zones did not produce constructive schemes to help achieve a balance.

“They insist lock-up, no take will make everything all right,” he said.

“These people (conservationists) need to take a new approach and work with all parties involved.”

Meanwhile, Greens environment spokeswoman Cassy O’Connor said it was a bleak day for Tasmania’s marine environment, for the rich diversity of life it supported, and for the people who campaigned hard for its protection in the face of political ignorance about its myriad values.

There will be minor adjustments to the boundaries of the Fortescue Bay, Roberts Point and Waterfall Bay MPAs as recommended by the Resource Planning and Development Commission.

All other areas will be proclaimed under the Nature Conservation Act as conservation areas where Mr Llewellyn said biological diversity and marine species would be protected while the community could also access sea products.

The RPDC had recommended 14 MPAs be created between Maria Island, the Tasman Peninsula and Bruny Island, including the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and the Huon River estuary.

Mr Llewellyn yesterday told Parliament the MPAs were based on sound, evidence-based science.

Fishers had complained that any plan to make new MPAs no-take zones would discriminate against commercial and recreational fishers in favour of charter-boat operators and eco-tourism businesses.

The Government will develop a management plan to monitor protection of species in the marine zones.