by Jeni Bone
The Queensland Seafood industry is hitting back at the Commonwealth's plans to create marine park zones off its coastline, with a 'Voice Your Choice' campaign coming from grass roots level and taking aim at the government.
Industry fears commercial fishing could lose 70 boats and thousands of jobs
Samies Girl Seafood Markets in Hamilton Brisband has launched the 'Voice Your Choice' petition encouraging people to band together with the statement that 'Australia's Oceans & Seafood Should Be Available to Australians – Not Locked Away in Extensive Marine Parks', and with the help of Federal Member for Brisbane, Teresa Gambaro.
The petition was the initiative of Samies Girl managing director Kristina Georges who wants the industry to have its say and the community to weigh in on the debate.
On the site Kristina states: 'We come together with a common view to oppose the Marine Parks that have been proposed. Australian citizens must have the choice of Australian seafood produce for its quality, freshness and health benefits and knowing we are supporting Australians through Australian Seafood produce which has been recognised as sustainably managed.
'We need to take action NOW so that we can continue to take our families fishing on the weekend in the tinnie, so we can go into a fish and chip shop and buy Australian fish, and so Australian fishermen and women can continue to sustainably fish in our waters.'
Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) president Geoff Tilton said he believed the decision to increase the national network of marine reserves from 27 to 60 was simply a strategy to satisfy the Greens agenda and win votes.
'It's been done without properly doing the science about how it's going to impact the availability of seafood and fish products to the growing Australian population,' he said, adding that the compensation package announced is about $100 million.
'I'd like to remind them when they zoned the Great Barrier Reef (for marine parks), it cost the Howard Government $230 million in compensation to the various businesses who were impacted.'
The Voice Your Choice petition aims to send a clear message to the Federal Labor Government and Teresa Gambaro said she would be standing up for her electorate members by speaking in Parliament and encouraging people to get involved.
'I urge everyone in the seafood industry supply chain from coastal communities, fishing stakeholders and consumers to take this last chance and sign the Voice Your Choice petition. It's the last chance to stop the unnecessary lock up of great swathes of Commonwealth waters, with the final 60-day consultation period for a national network of marine parks now open,' she said, referring to the impact on the various sectors such as the charter boat industry, tackle industry, the boating industry, superyachts, marine retailers, commercial fishing industry and their families and the four million plus recreational fishing community.
Visit www.voiceyourchoice.com.au where you can sign the petition.