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A new Battle of the Coral Sea

The Coral Sea Marine Park is part of a network of marine reserves around Australia and the stakes are high on both sides of the fishing debate.
The Coral Sea Marine Park is part of a network of marine reserves around Australia and the stakes are high on both sides of the fishing debate.

THE first Battle of the Coral Sea, in 1942, was a decisive turning point in the Second World War.

The battle now underway, between fishing and conservation interests, is also vital to the future of the world's largest and newest marine park, the preservation of marine species, the future of the Australian fishing industry and Australia's self sufficiency in food.

The Coral Sea Marine Park is part of a network of marine reserves around Australia and the stakes are high on both sides of the fishing debate.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has enthusiastically welcomed the move, claiming it would have "very little impact on recreational and charter fishing".

Society campaigner Fiona Maxwell says she is unaware of any Tin Can Bay commercial fishing interests that would be affected in a major way and said the marine park declaration would have only a "minimal" impact on Tin Can Bay.

Fishing interests disagree strongly, claiming Australian fishing is already managed sustainably and that taking Australian seafood off the menu will further damage the environment in the countries we will be importing from.

LNP Queensland Senator Sue Boyce says Australian fisheries are already "in good order and well managed," with the only over-fished species not caught in Queensland".

She was quoting a federal government report showing wild-caught species were well managed, as did Queensland Seafood Industry Association chairman Michael Gardner.

Queensland Fisheries Minister John McVeigh described the plan as "madness".

"Labor's dance to the Greens in the run-up to the federal election will destroy Queensland jobs and local businesses," he said.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke described the Coral Sea as "the jewel in the crown of the marine parks network" and said the new regime would come into effect in July next year.

Labor's dance to the Greens in the run-up to the federal election will destroy Queensland jobs and local businesses

What do you think? Have your say - leave a comment below.

Topics:  conservation coral sea fishing

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