Professional and recreational fishers have launched a last ditch public campaign against Marine Parks ‘No Take’ zones that they believe will cause personal damage to fishers and communities around SA.
The campaign kicked off today with a full page advertisement in The Advertiser, by individual fishers and fishing associations.
Campaign organiser, fisherman, Bart Butson, a third generation professional at Port Wakefield, said: “This is personal, it's about generations of fishing families who will be damaged by the far reaching changes to fisheries around the state.
“No one is seriously against marine parks, but we need bureaucrats and government to listen to real local knowledge in how the zones are drawn up around our communities and towns.
“I am indebted to heaps of fishers, both pros and recreational around the state who have put their hands in their pockets to help pay for this advertisement. We’re not some big time campaign organisation, were a virtual Dad’s Army of fishing people, and regional folk, and I’m lucky to have a committed group of community supporters, many who have no vested interest in professional fishing.
“How long can we keep this up ... not very long, but we decided we needed a big splash to make our point. From here on it will be social media Facebook sites, handing out flyers and people going to local MP offices and a Public Rally at Parliament House on Thursday when the vote is taken on legislation.
“When ordinary family people can't put their tinny in their favourite spot they will realise it’s too late to bring about some minor changes that can still happen. There is still a chance.
“As working fishermen we never believed we could be joining the unemployment queue with Holden workers, but it will happen. Our supporters are people who have never had a handout in their lives. We are workers and we fish to live”.
Mr Butson said during the consultation period the community through the Local Advisory Group worked cooperatively with DEWNR and came to a compromise that the community accepted. The community was shocked, however, when the government went outside that LAG agreement.
“They changed it, someone interfered with it, we were expected to lie down and accept our fate, but our Local Action Group is made up of old fashioned fighters – and here we are today doing something we never dreamed of.
“We are real casualties here at Port Wakefield and our situation will spill over to other local regions if we have to pull up our families and boats to move to another area to survive.
“Surely the government has bigger issues than us and we can't believe that our government is supporting zones that will put workers out of a job and hurt many businesses in the community who make a living off of our small businesses. Our problem was created by the government and can easily be fixed by the government if it chooses.
“These marine parks are just ‘paper parks’ and have no community ownership and without that will fail to be of any benefit. If our local communities are listened to, we will be the best friends the marine parks will ever have,” Mr Butson said.
Further information / interview, contact Bart Butson 0409 674 253; or Jeff Sutton, recreational fisherman, 0408 621 353. Media Assistance, Mike O’Reilly, 0414 882 505
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