July 21, 2017 – Today Australia’s government released five Draft Management Plans for the Marine Parks within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, a UNESCO designated World Heritage site. The accompanying announcement included recognition of the iconic black marlin’s annual aggregations near Osprey Reef and a statement that 97% of the waters will be open to recreational fishing.
In recent years, large environmental organizations convinced Australia’s government to create an expansive 192,000 square mile network of marine reserves to restrict activities in the Park. All of us in the sportfishing industry remained greatly concerned for the distinctions in surface trolling techniques and the highly migratory nature of billfish never seemed to be understood in all the meetings and government documents.
Australian anglers, captains and related sportfishing eco-tourism businesses rallied time and again to oppose the closure of all their valued fishing grounds. TBF called upon our members outside Australia to send comments supporting the great Australian billfishing fishery for which we are grateful. Public comments on the Draft Management Plans will be accepted through September 20, 2017. TBF will share our comments once we submit our comments. See included map of the Coral Sea Marine Park. Green areas denote where fishing is not allowed.
We at TBF will review the Draft Management Plans and share our suggested comments to the Australian government with you. We are also monitoring development of specifics to the Reef 2050 Plan, a 35 year management framework for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Thank you for your participation, if you are not a TBF member, now is the time to join and help insure billfishing opportunities remain available. http://membership.billfish.org/