Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Greg Hunt all at sea on marine reserves

Media release
2 June 2013

Claims that recreational fishers will be locked out of the ocean as a result of Commonwealth marine reserves are just another step in the Coalition’s baseless scaremongering.

Responding to the latest claims from those who purport to support Australia’s recreational fishers, Environment Minister Tony Burke said recreational fishers were being deliberately misled.

“The world-leading network of marine reserves that I proclaimed last year will not lock families out of our oceans or our iconic National Parks on land like Kakadu,” Mr Burke said.

“The places where a majority of families love to fish won’t be impacted at all by these new marine parks - fishing from beaches, lagoons and jetties is unchanged.

“The vast majority of the new Commonwealth marine reserves remain open to recreational fishers. In fact 96 per cent of the Commonwealth waters within 100 kilometres of the coast are still open to rec fishers.

“If Greg Hunt wanted to set out in a boat from Torquay, he would need to travel for about 460 km to get to the closest area closed to rec fishing. And it’s one of the marine reserves his party established.

“This is just blatant political scaremongering from a desperate party with no record of support for rec fishers.

“The Liberals are ready to invite the supertrawler back into our waters but want to pretend they support rec fishing.

“The new Commonwealth marine reserves were only established after an unprecedented consultation process.

“There have been five rounds of consultation on marine reserves over the past four year. We held over 250 public and stakeholder meetings right around the country that were attended by about 2,000 people.

“Over 750,000 people participated in our public consultation process and provided feedback.

“We’ve used the best available science, talked to the public over a number of years, made and revised plans based on community consultation and delivered the world’s most comprehensive marine reserve network - with only around a one per cent impact on commercial fisheries and minimal impact on recreational fishing.

“What the Government has achieved is a sound balance between protecting Australia’s marine biodiversity and supporting the sustainable use of our marine resources.”