Yesterday, Monday 10 September at 4pm, Marine Park submissions closed for the final Commonwealth marine reserves network, but industry and the general public won’t remain silent on the threats to livelihoods and their rights to fish.
A range of protests has been organised across the country, pointing out the hypocrisy of allowing the Dutch super trawler, FV Margiris to commence operations in Tasmanian waters, all while locking out the Australian commercial fishing fleets.
The Margiris and Seafish Tasmania, both owned by the Dutch Company Parlevliet & Van Der Plas, were the target of a protest rally by Victorian anglers on Saturday 1 September.
Over 300 vessels from as far away as Portland converged on the West Gate Bridge for a protest ‘boat tow’ and then gathered at the Altona boat ramp for a rally attended by 1200 angry recreational fishers and industry representatives.
President of the Game fishing Association of Victoria, Geoff Fisher said: 'The very idea that the Gillard government is locking recreational fishers out of millions of square kilometres under the disguise of sustainability concerns while inviting in a factory ship capable of taking thousands of tonnes of baitfish from our prime fishing grounds is unacceptable.
'Minister Ludwig then states that our fisheries are managed sustainably. I can only ask where he was when we were getting locked out of Marine Parks. This is a slap in the face to all recreational fishermen in Australia,' he added.
In Western Australia, hundreds of people gathered on the Perth foreshore to protest the Federal Government’s proposed marine park network that would see fishing banned in parts of WA waters.
Rex Hunt addresses the Keep Australia Fishing rally in WA
Hunt told the crowd proposed plan was a 'threat to our lifestyle'.
'People from high places are making rules for you people when they don't know what's going on. It’s called dictatorship and it’s un-Australian. Fishing has been part of our culture since we landed here.
'While I'm drawing breath, no bloke in Canberra who doesn’t fish will tell me what's going to happen!'
Hunt urged Australians to keep fishing, saying it turned children into 'good citizens'.
In Sydney, Friday 14 September, there are plans for two protests – one at the Prime Minister’s electorate office and the other at Tony Burke’s electorate office.
Organisers are inviting people to assemble at 3pm Friday September 14 outside Tony Burke's office at Shop G29, Centro Roselands, Roselands Drive, Roselands, NSW.
For the rally at the PM’s office, the address is Lalor Electorate Office Shop 2, 36 Synnot Street Werribee, VIC.
Organisers are urging people to attend and bring signs and banners protesting both the super trawler and marine parks.
More at www.keepaustraliafishing.com.au