Bid to limit commercial fishing in marine parks defeated by Coalition

The last Labor government locked up vast areas of Australian waters into marine parks where commercial fishing was banned.  The whole thing was just Green/Left bastardry -- the usual Green/Left desire to  hurt people rather than help nature.

Commercial fisheries in developed countries are normally sustainably managed.  Throughout the world -- for instance in the Mediterranean -- many fisheries have continued in productive  use for hundreds of years or more.  And there is no reason why Australia could not do the same.

As it is, despite the huge area of Australian waters, we have had to import fish, some of it from New Zealand but a lot from third world countries where uncontrolled fishing practices are very destructive of fish stocks.  So the allegedly Green policy has in fact greatly damaged fish stocks overall.  And yet the wreckers want to lock away yet more of a wonderful food source that we have inherited

A push by the Greens and Labor to attempt to force greater protection of fisheries in Australia’s marine parks has failed for the second time.

The parties had vowed to reject controversial management plans for the parks proposed by the Turnbull government. But on Thursday the Senate crossbench combined with the Coalition to defeat disallowance motions on the basis that the parks would then be left with no plans in place and no limits on fishing.

In March the environment minister Josh Frydenberg issued management plans for 44 marine parks to replace Gillard-era plans that were suspended when the Abbott government was elected in 2013.

Frydenberg said the plans were a “more balanced and scientific evidence-based approach to ocean protection” but most environmental groups opposed them warning they would strip more than 35m hectares of “no-take” ocean from the parks, allowing commercial fishing activities in 37 of the 44 parks.

Labor introduced a disallowance motion, supported by the Greens, but it was defeated on 27 March when the government called it on for a sudden vote before the opposition had time to convince four more crossbench senators to support it.

The Greens and Labor this month proposed a series of new disallowance motions for the south-west, north, north-west, temperate east and Coral Sea marine park plans.

On Thursday the disallowance motions were defeated 36 votes to 29, with One Nation, Centre Alliance, and senators Tim Storer, Derryn Hinch, Cory Bernardi and Fraser Anning siding with the Coalition.

Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson, the co-sponsor of the disallowances, told the Senate the choice was to “reject or reward” the government’s attempts to gut plans put in place by the fishing industry, environmental campaigners and community.

Whish-Wilson said the government had “ignored the advice of their own scientific panel” and 1,400 scientists who signed a petition urging that marine protections not be reduced. He said claims the plans were “balanced” meant the Coalition “giving their stakeholders they represent here, the big end of the fish industry and oil and gas, what they want”.

Labor senator Louise Pratt, the co-sponsor of the disallowances, accused the government of “decimating the original plans worked on for so long by putting their vastly weakened plans forward”.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson warned if the Greens got their way on disallowance the marine parks would “go back to no protection, nothing”. “Why throw the baby out with the bath water? There are protections in place now and if you’re not happy with it, work on it in the next parliament.”

The Liberals and Hanson cited the Pew Charitable Trusts - the one major environmental charity that opposes the disallowance - in their reasons for backing the current marine plans.

Bodies representing recreational fishers and the commercial fishing industry welcomed the result. Seafood Industry Australia chief executive Jane Lovell said it meant the “uncertainty that has plagued much of our wild-catch sector is now gone”.


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