The NSW State Elections are fast approaching and we have been left between a rock and a hard place. The extreme ignorant Greens are demanding our favourite fishing spots for preference votes. I am saddened to think of the so called consultation process when we were sitting in a room with many other fishing families ready to come to some kind of agreement. Many in the room were taken by surprise when we were basically given this option: “Give us all your fishing spots and we will try not to lock them up”.
We spent hours trying to find some other more friendly alternatives but were constantly reminded of the need to meet green-imposed goals and ultimately the Labor Party Minister’s directives. Not one of our suggestions was adopted and the final zoning plan clearly shows that the information anglers supplied was used to lock up the most valuable areas, banning recreational fishing. This unscrupulous process had been used in Marine Parks prior to the zoning of Port Stephens and Batemans Bay, but when I warned those attending these meetings the Marine Park Authority staff reassured our anglers that they had made serious mistakes in parks like Byron Bay but they would make sure that this wouldn't happen here at Port Stephens.
ECOfishers has been running public meetings across the state informing the public of this politically-driven agenda. We invited the Labor Minister Ian MacDonald to every meeting but he clearly indicated he wasn't prepared to face the public in an open debate. Smart move.
ECOfishers is not politically aligned with any party however we will work with any party who will help us to fight against unscientific lock-outs.
Now we are left with only two real options:
1. Continue to vote for Labor and the Greens and see more and more of our favourite spots locked up; or
2. Vote for your right to enjoy your recreational fishing way of life.
If you believe you should vote to keep your fishing spots open before you vote for a politician who is selling you out, then support the parties which will fight for your rights. The Fishing Party, Shooters Party and the Outdoor Recreation Party have been fighting the Greens for some time. The Liberal party has developed a fair fishing policy with strong direction and advice supplied by our organisation, which includes removing Sanctuary Zones from these Parks within the first year in office.
The other option is to vote for the above minor parties but give your preference to the Liberal Party, however it is critical to follow the instructions these minor parties provide to make your vote count. This voting method has the advantage of detailing how many votes were won or lost from fishers, divers, shooters, 4WDs, and not just mixed in with people generally unhappy with city infrastructure like tunnels and the like.
If Labor is re elected expect the following slogan:
‘MARINE PARKS, COMING TO A TOWN NEAR YOU!’