New laws sink Clarence fisherman

The area with the black and white stripes indicates the new area where bait fishing will be prohibited.
The area with the black and white stripes indicates the new area where bait fishing will be prohibited.

STAN Young says he has never caught a grey nurse shark off of Solitary Island and he has never seen anyone else catch one there either.

Stan would know he has been fishing the area professionally for 34 years.

"I am probably in that area far more than any marine biologist, or fisheries employee, or marine parks employee," Mr Young said.

The regulations introduced by the Department of Primary Industries ban all bait fishing in the area off of North Solitary Island about 10km east of Wooli.

Mr Young added that he does not believe grey nurse shark numbers are falling.

"That's a joke," he said.

"I don't believe their numbers are dwindling at all, some years they come in and some years they don't."

The Hon Robert Brown of the Shooters and Fishers Party agreed with Mr Young saying the evidence suggesting that grey nurse sharks were endangered has largely been discredited.

"This is atrocious," he said.

"Based on the research that was done on Green Island and Fish Rock at South West Rocks I would want to have a very close look at the science that dictates this exclusion zone is needed."

He also questioned the scientific evidence that suggests grey nurse sharks were endangered.

"The so-called scientific studies over the past 10 years have completely overturned the early so-called scientific evidence that said grey nurse numbers were down to the low 100s," he said.

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis also questioned the need for these regulations.

Both Mr Gulaptis and Mr Brown said they would be contacting the NSW Minister for the Department of Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson who is responsible for the actions of the fisheries department.

Ms Hodgkinson was not available to comment on this issue on Friday.

Neither Ms Hodgkinson nor the department of fisheries could confirm reports that commercial fisherman would still be able to use lead-lines in the proposed sanction area to target kingfish and snapper.

Topics:  environment, grey nurse shark, primary industries, shark, solitary island marine park




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