LUKE Hartsuyker hopes he’ll be inundated by a wave of protest over plans to restrict fishing off the Coffs Coast.
The member for Cowper has circulated a petition which he will eventually table in federal parliament in a bid to save the local industry.
The petition will outline to politicians the concerns over ‘government plans to prevent commercial and recreational fishing in waters off the NSW North Coast’.
“We also draw to the attention of the House of Representatives the devastating impact a reduction in fishing will have on tourism and local economies,” the petition says.
“We therefore ask the House of Representatives to ensure that no government unnecessarily locks up waters without the support of comprehensive scientific evidence and that marine reserves should strike a balance between good environmental outcomes and community needs.”
Mr Hartsuyker wants the petition, now doing the rounds in our region, to be returned to him by the end of the month.
He will then present the signatures to a parliamentary committee for ratification before tabling them in the parliament.
Mr Hartsuyker said the Federal Government had identified an area from Brooms Head south to Hat Head for further assessment to create a marine reserve in Commonwealth waters, while the State Government had chimed in with plans to ban prawn trawling in the Solitary Islands Marine Park.
The Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Co-operative is also harnessing support for the protest by handing out fliers to customers who buy fresh seafood at the shop.
The co-op is telling its customers they face a ‘massive’ loss of local seafood and jobs as commercial fishing is set to become more restricted in the waters off Coffs Harbour.