Concerns lurk over prawn phase-out

ANDREW Fraser says public consultation on proposed changes to Solitary Islands Marine Park zoning is timely.

“I have some real concerns about the proposed changes, particularly the two-year phase-out of prawn trawling in the marine park and I raised my concerns in State Parliament on April 23,” Mr Fraser said.

“During a recent visit to Coffs Harbour by the Minister for the Environment, Frank Sartor, I was astounded that he showed a complete lack of knowledge in relation to the proposed changes by admitting on 2MC that he was unaware of the total prohibition on prawn trawling.

“If the proposed changes are approved I fear for the future of the fishing industry in Coffs Harbour.

“The Coffs Harbour economy will be greatly affected if these proposed changes go ahead and I urge all concerned residents to lodge a submission.”

The public consultation period closes at 5pm on September 17 and information is available from the Solitary Islands Marine Park Office at 32 Marina Drive, Coffs Harbour Jetty, or by phoning the Environment Line on 1300 361 967.

You can also visit the Marine Parks Authority website at www.mpa.nsw.gov.au.

Mr Fraser said a copy of the proposed changes was available from his electorate office.

The chairman of the Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Co-operative, Russell Kerr, said seafood and jobs would disappear if the marine review went ahead.

“Put simply, the proposed changes will mean that the market will fail to keep up with the demand for fresh Australian seafood vital to the health of the population,” Mr Kerr said.

“In addition to the demise of the much sought-after Coffs Harbour eastern king prawns, the supply of several other species will be reduced including flathead, eastern school whiting, octopus, cuttlefish, striped trumpeter and squid.”

Mr Kerr said local availability of fresh seafood would be eliminated at certain times of the year, particularly in the summer months when prawn trawlers chased prawns and other species in shallower water.

“Also, seafood consumers across the State will experience a decline in availability of fresh Australian prawns as a result of these unnecessary restrictions, as the co-operative supplies 22 per cent of the eastern king prawns to the Sydney Fish Market,” Mr Kerr said.



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