Media Release

Recreational fishers applaud ALP candidate’s stance on Net Free Zones

Queensland Recreational Fishing Network (QRFN) has welcomed the announcement this week by the ALP candidate for Wide Bay, Lucy Stanton, that commercial netting within critical areas of the Fraser Island World Heritage Area, its proposed extension and the adjacent Great Sandy Marine Park be banned.

A local QRFN spokesperson said the fishing tourism potential for the region is enormous and would be enhanced substantially if Net Free Zones suggested by Lucy Stanton were implemented. The spokesperson said it was widely recognised and proven that the economic value of recreational fishing far exceeded that of commercial netting in inshore areas.

Lindsay Dines, QRFN spokesperson said, “Studies are showing a steady decline in angler participation and catch rates over the past decade which is very disturbing. We are hearing repeatedly that anglers are no longer bothering to go fishing because they believe it is unlikely they will catch a fish due to the serious stock depletion from excessive commercial netting in our inshore waters.”

Mr Dines said, “Netting bans on the Fraser and Cooloola coasts will have far reaching beneficial effects for key species prized by recreational anglers as well as having significant overall ecosystem health benefits.”

Mr Dines said he believed that with the removal of net fishing, fish stocks would rebuild and recover back to levels not seen for decades, as already being seen in the recently introduced net-free areas in north Qld, and local economies would enjoy a much needed boost as visitors came to the region to fish and leave new money behind when they did.

“The long term sustainability of our inshore fisheries is of extreme importance to us and areas closed to commercial netting complimented by better overall management of the resources, will assist greatly in buffering the effects of climate change and human population growth,” Mr Dines explained.

“QRFN as well as other influential conservation groups strongly believe it is essential that commercial netting be prohibited in World Heritage waters and that the conservation zones in the Great Sandy Marine Park should receive the same level of protection as all other marine parks.”

“Qld Recreational Fishers Network fully support Lucy Stanton and any other like-minded candidates and sitting members in pursuing this excellent proposal.”

Contact: Lindsay Dines – 0419773137
Date: 22nd April 2016