The reply to the letter from locals concerned about spear fishing at Marino Rocks has been received from Minister Clare Scriven, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development.
Unfortunately the letter upholds the lifting of the spear fishing ban. It repeats the responses made by PIRSA and the last government’s minister. It ignores that the consultation was deliberately skewed to groups with an interest in spear fishing, either as clubs or as bait and tackle shops.
The letter states “The groups included several City Councils, recreational fishing groups, conservation groups, surf lifesaving clubs and sea rescue stakeholders.” It does not acknowledge that very few conservation groups were consulted and no coastal communities apart from SLSCs. It does not admit that only spear fishing clubs and bait shops voted to lift the ban. All other groups including the local councils wanted the ban to remain.
There was an almost 50:50 response to the consultation, slightly more against lifting the ban if anything, and that would normally mean the status quo was retained ie. no change made but not in this case! The response, if you consider the number of people those groups actually represented, like the local councils, was very definitely in favour of keeping the ban but it was lifted anyway. A coincidence that the last Minister’s advisory group was headed by the leader of a spear fishing group?!
The letter also says “The South Australian Government, as custodian of the State’s community-owned fisheries resources, has a fundamental role in managing these resources to ensure they are biologically sustainable” (our bolding) but added that “recreational fishing and commercial fishing activities are to be fostered for the benefit of the whole”. To open up to spear fishing 2 small areas (Marino Rocks – Hallett Cove and Outer Harbor) on the metropolitan coast close to where 1m people live does not bode well for the sustainability of these areas, no matter how well PIRSA police it – and they are not even monitoring the marine life that is disappearing.
A meeting with the minister was requested but the letter did not offer one.
If you feel that this was an undemocratic decision and will badly affect the local marine life (especially as Marino Rocks is a nursery for juvenile fish), then please sign the petition and write a letter to the Minister. Only continuing public pressure will help reinstate the ban. 5049CC will keep trying but maybe the spear fishers will give up when there is so little marine life left at Marino Rocks that it is not worth their while going there any more.