SA trawlers to ‘cross border’

South Australian professional fisherman will be lured into Victorian waters after yesterday’s announcement of new national marine park system, a fishing industry advocate warns.

A huge system of marine parks taking in millions of square kilometres of ocean around Australia  officially came into effect yesterday.

The changes will have no direct effect on the south-west coast because national marine parks were established along the Victorian coastline in 2007. 

But the co-founder of a commercial and recreational fishing group We Fish, which has previously opposed the introduction of marine parks, yesterday warned tighter no-take zones around South Australia could push vessels over the border into Commonwealth waters off Victoria, where trawlers searching for pelagic fish, such as striped tuna and red bait, would not require a licence. 

We Fish’s Dale McClelland described South Australian marine parks and no-take zones as “ridiculously harsher” than in Victoria. 

“State and federal marine restrictions in South Australia will cause commercial fishing sector to fish further away from their home ports and into the Victorian coastal waters,” he said.

He said a study by Deloitte economics found $25 million had been pumped into the economy between Warrnambool and Portland over Easter. 

He warned that industry would be at threat if trawlers crossed into Victoria’s Commonwealth waters in large enough numbers.

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