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Minister says Marine Parks a Plus for Fishermen Despite Compensation Plan

15 June 2012, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - An assistance package in the vicinity of A$100 million began to flow to the fishing industry before the announced marine reserves were activated, but Minister Ludwig still says the marine reserves will benefit fishermen.

The Gillard Government announced the final network of reserves after a year of consultation with marine and tourism businesses, environmental groups and the community.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the Government will build a tailored assistance package with the fishing industry. This will be aimed at providing adjustment assistance to those directly impacted.

The package will be designed to meet case-by-case needs of these fishers and businesses, and the Government will work with industry to develop measures such as:

  • Transitional business assistance to support changes to fishing business operations
  • Assistance for employees including payments
  • Investment in research and monitoring
  • Removal of commercial fishing effort from impacted fisheries through possible purchase of entitlements
  • Targeted assistance to vertically integrated fishing businesses

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

There will be specialised assistance on a case by case basis for vertically integrated businesses that are especially impacted.

Importantly as a Labor Government we will make sure impacted workers receive the help they need.

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke MP, said that throughout the process the Government worked to maximise conservation results and minimise impact on fishing of all kinds.

Government and industry will work together to establish an assistance package. I want to make it clear that reserves will not come into effect until industry assistance is in place and flowing, Minister Burke said.

Reserves had been designed to minimise the impacts wherever possible. The reserves are estimated to displace approximately one to two per cent of the annual value of wild catch fisheries production in Australia.

Despite the need for assistance, ABCRural reports that the Federal Government says commercial fishermen will benefit from the proposed expansion of Commonwealth marine parks.

Minister Ludwig said the plans now on display are a win-win for fishermen and the environment, rejecting claims that the marine parks will lock out commercial fishing and devastate the industry.

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