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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Push to reopen Victorian marine parks to recreational fishing

Some of Victoria's marine national parks would be opened up for fishing under a trial that is being pushed by the state's lead recreational angling group.
VRFish says it is designing a three-year trial that would test the impacts of ''environmentally friendly recreational fishing methods'' in areas that have been ruled out of bounds for anglers for a decade to protect marine biodiversity and breeding sites.
The trial would need state government approval to go ahead, and the lobby group is hoping to win political support for the plan at this year's state election.
The push follows NSW temporarily opening its ''no take'' marine parks to recreational fishers, with the O'Farrell government expected to make the move permanent.
 The federal government is rewriting management plans for a swath of recently created Commonwealth marine parks off the West Australian, South Australian, NSW and Northern Territory coasts, with an expectation fishing will be allowed in more areas.
The angling group wants the trial in three of Victoria's 24 marine national parks and sanctuaries. It has gone to tender for a study to support the trial design.

VRFish executive officer Dallas D'Silva identified the Point Addis marine park as a likely candidate. This national park stretches 10 kilometres from Bells Beach to Anglesea and has banned fishing since 2003.

Simon Branigan from the Victorian National Parks Association 

"He also questioned whether state funds should be used to lobby for fishing access in marine parks, with the angling group receiving funding from a state government account that distributes money collected from the sale of fishing licences. ''We call for the Napthine government to reject the proposal and rule out spending public money on any fishing trial in marine national parks.''
For starters it’s not public money its money raised by Recreational fishing licences and held in trust by the government Mr Simon Branigan, Every year the Victorian Government, through the Recreational Fishing Licence (RFL) Trust Account, disburses revenue derived from the sale of RFLs to projects that will further improve recreational fishing opportunities in Victoria, last year fishing licences raised $6,897,217.42.

What are you scared of Mr Simon Branigan, that we will find that fishing has much less impact than what the VNPA has claimed?

The VNPA and Mr Simon Branigan are a little confused,

ABC Oct 2012

SIMON BRANIGAN: There's been monitoring of fish species. Normally fish species that may reside in Queensland or New South Wales are popping up in Victoria. There's one species in particular, the Mahi Mahi, the dolphin fish, that's popping up and also the Cobia.

And there's other species such as the long spine sea urchin, which would normally reside in New South Wales. Over the last 10 to 20 years, it's extended its range through to Victoria and down to Tasmania.

In some situations it can have quite devastating effects. They can cause sea urchin barrens, which basically depletes habitat of any other flora and fauna.

The VNPA sends out a big thank you to everyone who helped increase protection for the Blue Groper. Whether you donated money, wrote a letter to Fisheries Victoria, or both, your efforts have paid off.

Parks Victoria Marine and Coasts Program Leader, Mark Rodrigue said that the observation was particularly exciting because the fish seen is likely to have been a Western Blue Groper (Achoerodus gouldii) that was only noted as a Victorian fish species in 2011.
“The closely related Eastern Blue Groper (A.viridis) is well known in Victoria, but the Western Blue Groper was only confirmed in this state recently. Both species are now protected in most states including Victoria,” he said.

Museum Victoria, If the western sightings turn out to be the Western Blue Groper (Achoerodus gouldii), then that would be exciting, because even though some guide books list the species in western Victoria, the museum has no verified records that I could find. Effectively, it would be the first offical indication that we have of the Western Blue Groper extending its range from Western Australia and South Australia into Victorian waters.

Wouldn’t that make it one of those species that reside in other areas and are popping up in Victoria, Mr Simon Branigan?

2011 Victorian Auditors-General Office report into the environmental management of marine protected areas found that Parks Victoria cannot show that marine biodiversity is being protected or that the related management obligations of applying resources as intended are being discharged. Little environmental management activity is evident within marine protected areas.

VNPAs 2010 threat assessment

It’s important that not only all anglers get behind this campaign but that they talk to people that don’t fish, and inform them. This is more than just being allowed to fish, it’s about changing the public perception that groups like the VNPA are pushing, that “fishing is the single biggest threat to our marine environment”. Anglers are the true environmentalist we have done more than any another group to look after not only our marine environment but our river systems as well. Its time we take start taking the lead publicly and groups like the VNPA will become irrelevant soon enough!

Support your peak body VRFish and keep informed.

Let the environment minister know your thoughts.

Environment Minister Ryan Smith

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