Fishermen Reject Great Barrier Reef Marine Reserve

by Nellie J

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef. It is one of Australia’s (and the world’s) greatest natural assets and in a bold move by the federal government of Australia, The Great Barrier Reef will become a marine reserve.

The reserve network will ban oil and gas exploration in the Coral Sea and also imposes a limited fishing ban.

The move has been met with support by many environmental and conservation groups alike, unfortunately for the local commercial fishing industry, the move will mean loss of income.

Worlds largest coral reef gets protection

The Australian federal government faces a  fight with the fishing industry over planned   marine reserves.

Fishermen  scorned the government’s talk of a $100 million compensation  package yesterday.

Just after the Environment Minister, Tony Burke, announced he would set up  the world’s largest network of marine reserves yesterday, fishermen  condemned  the  idea, saying it would push up the price  of seafood, damage coastal  communities and imperil Australia’s food security.

Conservationists broadly welcomed it. The area  will cover more than 3  million square kilometres of ocean, and limit fishing and mining to varying  degrees, though some were concerned the network did not go far enough.

Mr Burke and the Fisheries Minister, Joe Ludwig, announced they would set up  an assistance package ”in the vicinity” of $100 million.

”Those impacted who want to change where they fish, how they fish, and what  they fish, will be helped to do so,”  Mr Ludwig said. ”Those who can change  their business model, or who opt to leave the industry, will get the assistance  they require.”

Source: The Age

Despite the move to include a large area of the reef, some environmental groups say that the area covered is not enough. The Greens say 18 Coral Sea reef systems remained unprotected.

Local fishermen reject proposal

As world fish populations diminish at an alarming rate, the move by the Australian government can only be seen as a positive step towards establishing environmental policy that protects the ocean.

Many fishing industries in the area will have to diversify their business model if they want to survive…. A sad indictment to preserving the planets largest coral reef?

What do you think? Is the marine reserve large enough and do the local fishermen have a point to argue?

Would you like to see more natural areas set aside and preserved for future generations?

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