ABC today revealed that there are internal tensions in the recreational fishing community about the extent to which the current “Keep Australia Fishing” fear campaign against new marine parks has sought to misrepresent the truth.
Listen to the story or read the transcript here.
I’ve had a look online and found the documents referred to in the story, minutes of the Australian Angling Association meeting where Recfishwest says in its official report to the association:
Most articles and media statements are misleading, inaccurate, alarmist, mischievous, or aimed at stirring up people. Sure there are suspect political reasons for some decisions, and some are not supported by sound science aimed at the real threats, however talking of “vast areas locked away from recreational fishermen” is simply wrong and alarmist.
The map tells a story. Look at the map online and you be the judge. Do the white areas deserve the description “Locked out of vast areas?” Vast areas which are actually used by recreational boat fishermen?
Despite these official views, Recfishwest continues to campaign on the basis of ‘large scale lock outs’.
The recreational and commercial fishing industry have been running a fear campaign against the new marine parks since they were launched by the Federal Government, drastically overstating the extent of marine parks and the impacts on recreational fishing and on the commercial fishing industry.
For example, many adverts have featured kids blocked from fishing on the beach, when the proposed commonwealth marine parks start 5km from shore and cannot possibly affect shore fishing.
Even in the response to the questions on World Today, Recfishwest talks about being locked out of the head of the Perth Canyon, when in fact there is only one small sanctuary in this area and the main areas where people fish, the fish attracting devices (FADs), are still open to fishing.
Interestingly too, the campaign is focusing entirely on the new commonwealth marine sanctuaries in Geographe Bay, and ignoring the state marine sanctuaries put in by the WA Liberal Government right next door.
Fortunately both levels of Government and both sides of politics have seen past this fear campaigning and understand the strong science case and community mandate for establishing marine sanctuaries in Western Australia’s waters.
UPDATE – More evidence the fisher’s arguments don’t stack up to any evidence based scrutiny, they’ve only got rhetoric to fall back on. Hear The Squid on talk back on Howard Sattler’s drive program after a long dribble of misinformation about lack of science and vast ‘lock-outs’ from Karl Langdon, via Western Angler: Listen here.
UPDATE 2 – Bit of history here too. A debate with Western Angler’s Scott Coghlan from March 2011, where again the arguments of the fishers just don’t stand up to the facts. Listen here.