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    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation
    The Honourable Andrew McNamara

    BAN TO PROTECT BAY FISH STOCKS

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation
    The Honourable Andrew McNamara

    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    BAN TO PROTECT BAY FISH STOCKS

    The Bligh Government will ban “backdoor” commercial fishing in the Moreton Bay marine park to ensure fish stocks boom.

    In a move backed by the commercial fishing lobby and green groups, commercial fishers will be banned from Moreton Bay for five years if they surrender their licence under the Government $15.1million buyback scheme.

    The only way around the ban is to buy a licence from someone already operating in the bay – not from elsewhere in Queensland.

    “It means you can’t take the taxpayer’s money for your licence then come in through the backdoor,” Ms Bligh said.

    “This will mean a real reduction in commercial fishing in the bay. There will be more fish for ordinary anglers and commercial fishers will have less competition.

    "We have spoken to the commercial fishers on the bay and they agree it's a better deal for everyone."

    Australian Marine Conservation Society campaigns director Craig Bohm said his organisation supported the buy-back rules: “We support the intent of this initiative, which is to remove real commercial fishing effort in Moreton Bay Marine Park.”

    That position is backed by the World Wildlife Fund and the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, whose spokesman Simon Balitas said: “The initiative is the first step in an urgent need to reduce commercial fishing effort in the Moreton Bay Marine Park."

    Sustainability Minister Andrew McNamara said the Government estimates about 100 of the 430 commercial operators will give up their licence.

    The Bligh Government last week announced a huge increase in "green zones" - up from 0.5% to 16% - in which fishing is not allowed. This followed the recommendations of an independent scientific panel.

    "This is the greatest environmental initiative in the bay's history and it is based purely on science - no emotion, no politics," Mr McNamara said. "It means our grandkids will be catching fish in the bay.”

    Media: Premier’s Office - 3224 4500; Minister’s Office - 3336 8004