CONCERN: The board of Coffs Harbour’s Fishermen’s Co-op meet to discuss the future of professional fishing.
CONCERN: The board of Coffs Harbour’s Fishermen’s Co-op meet to discuss the future of professional fishing.

New marine plan

THE Federal Government is re-assessing it’s management of environmentally significant deep sea areas to find a sustainable mix between conservation, recreation and industry.

Announcing the ‘Areas of Further Assessment’ in Cairns, Environment Minister Peter Garrett said a draft plan of management would be released early next year.

Following that, everyone with a stake in Australia’s marine environment will have the opportunity to express their views on the draft bioregional plan.

Seven areas, including North Queensland’s Coral Sea Conservation Zone, are up for further assessment, including Fraser, Tweed, Clarence, Hunter, Batemans, Tasmantid-Lord Howe and Norfolk islands.

The government plans to establish a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas by 2012.

Where the no take fishing zones will be introduced is not yet known.

“As with other marine areas around the country, I expect that this process will lead to a balanced mix of both multiple use areas and no-take areas within the marine reserve network in which we work with stakeholders to secure a good conservation outcome while minimising social and economic impacts,” Mr Garrett said.

“These areas for further assessment are simply areas where more detailed information will be collected.

“Importantly, they do not have any regulatory impact on industries, recreational fishers, boating enthusiasts, tourism operators and other users.”



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