Local anglers Ian Fail (foreground) and his son, Robert, talk to Greg Hunt and Luke Hartsuyker about a proposed Commonwealth marine reserve.
Local anglers Ian Fail (foreground) and his son, Robert, talk to Greg Hunt and Luke Hartsuyker about a proposed Commonwealth marine reserve. trevor veale

Fishing ban not the way

IAN FAIL has been fishing locally for more than 50 years; his son Robert for 30. The pair believe establishing a Commonwealth marine reserve, stretching from Brooms Head to Hat Head, and imposing a blanket ban on fishing in the area, is a bad move.

Both prefer a managed resource where sustainability and balance are the key.

“There’s people in Canberra making these decisions but they haven’t got to live with this,” Robert said yesterday.

“There’s no real knowledge or wisdom in this decision and I don’t know where they’re getting their information from but it’s wrong.

“It should be locals making these decisions, not highly educated people out of university who don’t know the situation here.”

Mr Ian Fail said he believes part of the solution would be a ban on netting and trapping in estuaries. Shutting out all fishing – commercial and recreational – was not the answer.

“I believe the prawners should be put off the coast further, mainly because the amount of other fish they trap in the nets is phenomenal,” he said.

Ian said his grandson had worked on prawn boats and was staggered at the number of fish that were killed and dumped.

“They’re undersize and thrown back overboard but most were dead before they get there.”

Ian concedes that he has seen fish numbers decline over the years and some species were no longer common. “You used to get deep sea squire, juvenile snapper, in the harbour. You could look down and see schools of them. I haven’t seen any for years now, ” Ian said

Both men said mullet stocks were depleted, which they say is because of netting.

“I can remember seeing trailer loads of mullet netted off the beach.”

However, one species which has benefited from the Solitary Islands Marine Park was groper.

“There is a legal size and a bag limit that can be caught and they’re definitely more prolific now. That’s the way to go – manage the resource.”



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