Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair

The Nationals in Government have worked to ensure anglers will be protected from proposed fishing lockouts.

Deputy NSW Nationals Leader and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said there would be no loss of fishing rights or access under in proposed marine park sites put forward by the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA).

This common-sense decision is in stark contrast to Labor’s policy, announced when Luke Foley was Shadow Environment Minister, which is to create massive marine parks and lock out fishermen. This policy is being secretly supported by the Shooters and Fishers, thanks to backroom preference deals that would actually see fishing lockouts a reality under Labor.

Mr Blair had received extensive feedback from both local communities and anglers and was confident that fishing was not a key threat to the sustainability of our marine environment.

“We have taken (fishing) lockouts off the table,” Mr Blair said. “I am a keen fisherman myself and understand both the economic and social values the industry brings to our State. We are confident there are many other ways to manage sensitive areas that have fishers as part of the solution and we will continue to explore these options. (The) decision does not change the fact we are still working towards a marine park that protects key marine habitats, species and the environment we all know and love.”

MEMA has identified 25 areas that require better management to ensure their sustainability, but its proposal unfairly impacted on low risk activities such as fishing and spear-fishing.

“In 2011, we made an election commitment to deliver a marine park strategy that was based on risk assessments and consultation rather than empty ideology and slogans that we saw under Labor,” Mr Blair said. “In order to manage them and protect them for future generations we need an approach that is accepted and sustainable for the people of NSW. We remain committed to that promise and will continue to do the hard work to make sure we get an outcome that is sustainable now and well into the future. I encourage everyone to continue to have their say as we work to deliver a final marine park solution in the coming weeks.”

The Nationals are continuing to work toward strengthening and supporting recreational fishing. We strongly oppose the anti-fishing agenda of Labor and anyone who supports them.