Protected zones 'spell end' for family business
AFTER supplying the market with tuna for the past 24 years, Bob Lamason fears new marine park reserves will spell the end for his family owned Cairns business.
The fisherman sources tuna from parts of the Coral Sea set to become no-go zones in July 2014 under the 2.3 million square kilometre marine reserves network announced by federal Environment Minister Tony Burke yesterday.
"We would be totally locked out," Mr Lamason said.
The Great Barrier Reef Tuna owner said he had already lost five staff due to the uncertainty surrounding his business.
"It's already affecting us because of staff leaving for job security," he said.
Mr Lamason said he was still waiting to find out how much the business would be compensated for their loss.
"We'll have a meeting in the next few weeks. We haven't set a figure yet, it's just too hard," he said.
The reserves will include large areas that are off-limits to all fishing, others that ban trawling as well as zones where only catch-and-release or low-impact tourism is allowed.
Mr Burke said the $100 million compensation package would be more than adequate for the affected businesses.
Dive operators have welcomed the network, which includes protection for Osprey Reef, Marion Reef, Bougainville Reef, Vema Reef and Shark Reef.
But Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the reserve would have a disastrous impact on the local economy.
"What makes it a farce is that (Tony Burke) is offering cash to shut down ecologically viable and sustainable businesses and he's going to replace them with products from overseas," he said.
Mr Entsch said the Far North's lucrative fishing charter tourism industry would take a hit.
"We've just picked up two of the largest marlins ever caught and it's created a massive amount of interest but they're going to now lock them out," he said.
But Protect Our Coral Sea campaigner Xanthe Rivett said the marine parks would protect vital species for future generations of Australians.
"The park will act as an insurance policy for our oceans, building resilience for fish stocks and protecting fragile and critical habitats such as shallow and deep coral reefs," Ms Rivett said.
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Off limits: Fisherman Bob Lamason speaks out against the Federal Government's policy on marine park reserve closures in the Coral Sea. Picture: MARC McCORMACK