Back Off or Else, Say Our Anglers

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Back Off or Else, Say Our Anglers

Anglers are demanding a backdown on plans for no-take zones - or they will hold more public protests.

South Australia Recreational Fishing Advisory Council executive officer Trevor Watts, who spoke at the packed public meeting at Burnside Town Hall on Tuesday night, yesterday told The Advertiser every angler believed they had a right to fish wherever they want to.

"At the moment it is over to the Government but if we don't hear anything positive we will resume our strategy," he said.

"For now we will let the dust settle and hope the minister will ring and say `perhaps we've been a bit harsh', but I know I'm dreaming."

The State Government created 19 multiple-use parks around the coast in line with the Marine Parks Act 2007. The parks were designed to help preserve marine habitats while sustaining recreational and commercial activities.

Mr Watts said anglers supported marine parks but took issue with sanctuary zones (often referred to as no-take zones) planned to be introduced within the parks. These would be areas where fishing was banned.

Maps made available by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources showed more than 140 sanctuary zones within the marine parks.

"Anglers are happy to have multiple-use marine parks but (are) not happy about no-take zones unless there is very strong evidence we need a no-take zone, but we have not seen any," Mr Watts said. "We don't cause the problem with the environment because we have heavily restricted bag and size limits and we often ask to be more regulated.

"All the do-gooder theories they put up to support no-take zones don't hold much water for recreational angling."

Environment Minister Paul Caica said the sanctuary zones were far from finalised and those developed would likely be very different to examples provided. But Port Lincoln tackle shop owner Damien Smart said he was not so sure.

"We didn't come down in the last shower ... any blind man can see this is not a practical way of doing a draft," he said, adding if the Government didn't remove no-take zones from the agenda there would be action taken.

Online forum fishSA moderator Mark Reed said he had heard of plans for another public demonstration, likely a rally.

Mr Caica said the State Government was committed to taking advice from communities in developing marine parks and sanctuary zones. "The scenarios were always meant to be only a starting point and we did this with the expectation significant changes would be proposed once communities saw the maps," he said.

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