NEWS - Boswell moves to save fishing jobs by blocking Coral Sea Heritage Park

NEWS - Boswell moves to save fishing jobs by blocking Coral Sea Heritage Park

The Nationals Senator Ron Boswell yesterday moved in the Senate to block a Proclamation that would introduce a Coral Sea Heritage Park, which would put at risk the jobs of thousands of people involved in the North Queensland fishing and boating industries.

On May 14, 2009, Environment Minister Peter Garrett proclaimed the Conservation Zone that would take in nearly a million square kilometres of the Coral Sea east of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The motion moved by Senator Boswell and co-sponsored by Senator Ian MacDonald, stated “that the Proclamation made on May 14, 2009 under subsection 390D(1) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 declaring an area to be a conservation zone be disallowed.

“This motion will stop the Coral Sea Heritage Park from going ahead and will save the jobs of hundreds of people involved in the fishing industry,” Senator Boswell said.

“The declaration of a conservation zone is seen by many as the first step to unilaterally declaring a one million square kilometre ‘green’ zone (the world’s largest no-take marine park), under the predominant pressure of US-based lobby group Pew.

“Pew has been at the forefront of pressuring the government to succumb to their agenda, which is to lock-up the Coral Sea from any use, contrary to any scientific fact.

“The use of the Coral Sea has never been under question, especially when 60 per cent of fishing is already excluded from the available reef platform and coral bank area in the region.
This exceeds even the maximum 50 per cent level of protection suggested by advocates of the marine protected areas.

“There is no need for additional no-fishing areas in the Coral Sea region,” Senator Boswell said.

“The Coral Sea area is a low-volume, high-value fishery and its sustainability has not really been under question.
The motivation for PEW’s proposal seems to be just environmental extremism for the sake of it.

“If this proposal went ahead it could lead to fishing closures, gameboats being licensed and even navigation could potentially be blocked in certain zones.

“What would be the cost to the fishing industry if this proposal is adopted?
If we look at the historical cost of expanding green zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park we can recall that from the estimated $2million that the authority suggested, the compensation cost went to $255million.

“In addition to stopping the Coral Sea Heritage Park from being proclaimed, I will be asking questions of the Minister about what evidence he has that a ‘no-take’ zone is needed,” Boswell said.