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Recreational Fishing Amnesty Divides Opinion

By Jessica Issa on February 11, 2014 in News


In March last year, Barry O’Farrell proposed an amnesty on recreational fishing restrictions from ocean beaches and headlands in sanctuary zones. A public statement announced that “the NSW Government is of the view that recreational fishing from ocean beaches and headlands poses little risk to our marine ecosystems”. The proposal has created a stir amongst some locals.

Denise Lawler, member of the Underwater Research group of NSW, is heavily opposed to the amnesty.

“As a SCUBA diver, you notice two to three times the abundance of fish in no-take zones. The proposal is a huge step back for the NSW environment. The sport of fishing has no positive effects on the environment,” she said.

“We have fought long and hard to get the sanctuary zones we have. Our community needs to act now to stop the proposal from going ahead. Most politicians are not scientists and don’t realise the impact of fishing.”

Not surprisingly, The Beast’s resident fishing writer and local marine scientist Dan Trotter had a rather different opinion on the issue.

“This amnesty should have little impact on the habitat of ocean beaches and headlands given that the sanctuary zones are still in place offshore.

“If people get upset about amnesties on marine parks, they need to research and understand why marine parks are put where they are put and the incredibly challenging job fishery scientists have,” Mr Trotter said.

“Next time someone gets upset about marine parks, ask them where the fish they eat comes from. Many people eat fish not knowing if it’s sustainable,” he added.

If anyone has any comments or questions for Dan on the matter, feel free to e-mail him at