Govt hits back over trawling row
THE State Government has hit back at claims from within Coffs Harbour’s commercial fishing industry that there is no science behind the push to ban prawn trawling in the Solitary Islands Marine Park.
The deputy director-general of the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Sally Barnes, said nearly 75 per cent of submissions received in relation to the zoning review for the Solitary Islands Marine Park had called for trawling to be prohibited.
“Trawling is known to cause major damage to marine eco-systems,” Ms Barnes said. “The Environmental Impact Statement on the Ocean Trawl Fishery, published by the NSW Department of Primary Industries in 2004, notes the best way to conserve the structure and ecological processes in a given area is not to trawl there.
“It also notes that habitat conservation must be given a high priority if the risks to species and ecological processes from trawling activities are to be reduced.
“In response to the issues raised in the EIS, the draft zoning plan for the Solitary Islands Marine Park contains measures to reduce the impacts of trawling. These proposals are currently on exhibition for public comment and input to the final regulation.
“As we move forward with the regulation it will be important to consider any changes to the commercial fishing industry and to consumers of seafood.
“I am advised that the annual value of the prawn trawl fishery within the Solitary Islands Marine Park is estimated at around 2 per cent of the value of the NSW prawn fishery.
“People interested in more details about the science underpinning marine parks should avail themselves of the independent science review into NSW marine parks ( www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/review) – it found that the scientific work being done in marine parks is world class.”