Anglers want restrictions to 6 marine parks lifted

RECREATIONAL anglers are now pushing for fishing restrictions to be lifted in six marine parks after the government scrapped plans for a wider lockout.

A day after the government kiboshed fishing bans in 25 new zones between Newcastle and Wollongong, The Daily Telegraph can reveal the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party has set its sights on opening up marine parks put in place by Labor between 1997 and 2006.

Government insiders are furious the policy fumble has "breathed new life" into the minor party, which threatens to eat into the Coalition's vote at the state election.

"We're not letting this go," Shooters MP Robert Brown said.

"There's no guarantee they won't backflip after the state election. We will campaign to open up fishing in those six marine parks."

In announcing the backdown, first revealed in the Telegraph two weeks ago, NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair conceded the proposed fishing lockouts were "absolutely unacceptable".

NSW Minister for Trade and Industries Niall Blair. Picture: AAP
NSW Minister for Trade and Industries Niall Blair. Picture: AAP

The policy would have made fishing illegal in popular coastal spots up and down the coast, including Camp Cove at Sydney Harbour and a large swath of shoreline between the south end of Bondi Beach and Coogee beach.

"Lockouts are out - it's off the table," Mr Blair said yesterday. "We don't have an appetite to lock fishers out."

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party had been planning a campaign in marginal city seats such as East Hills, and will now step up the push. Major rallies planned for next week, including a Saturday flotilla of tinnies with flares gathering on Sydney Harbour at Chowder Bay, will still go ahead.

The Shooters will also introduce a bill to impose a 10-year moratorium in any further bans.

"In reversing their position, they have admitted the marine parks with fishing bans put in place by Labor at Cape Byron, Port Stephens, Solitary Islands, Bateman, Jervis Bay and Lord Howe Island were not put in place with sound science," Mr Brown said.