Member should reel in the facts

FEDERAL Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage & the Arts, Peter Garrett, has weighed into the local debate over fishing zones with this response to his Federal counterpart Luke Hartsuyker who recently established a petition against the changes.

To the Editor,

Luke Hartsuyker should deal in the facts when it comes to the marine planning process under way in Commonwealth waters (Advertisement, Luke’s petition seeks support for local fishing and tourism, Coffs Coast Advocate May 5 2010).

A comprehensive program of work is now taking place right around the country to assess the unique economic and environmental values of the Australian marine environment. It was a process initiated by the Howard Government, of which Mr Hartsuyker was a member.

It’s a process aimed at ensuring the sustainability of our marine resources now and for the future by providing both multiple use and protected marine areas in Commonwealth waters nationwide. But importantly, it’s a process aimed at minimising the social and economic impacts.

The very purpose of the consultation process currently underway is to get a better understanding of how industry and the community use these areas so that areas of high importance economically or for recreational use can be avoided, where possible, when the Government creates new marine reserves.

Instead of fishing for a headline Mr Hartsuyker should reel in the facts

PETER GARRETT AM MP



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