Whilst bored at work and completely sick of talking about wheat, Dear Auntie (Sorry JB, ABC) came to the rescue this morning with a piece of procrastination gold. Coming from a family that has spent an awful lot of summers down the South Coast, I have heard talk of the Bateman Marine Park(Batemans) for a few years now. The park marine park will extend North to Brush Island (about halfway as the crow flies between Batemans Bay and Ulladulla), and as far South as Bueaty Point. A fair whack of the coast line (about 100km’s according to my dodgy maths). Needless to say, there are soem fairly vital marine ecosystems that will be protected by this new park. particulary from scallop dredges, of which there has been a dramatic increase of late after Sydney Harbour was blocked from commerical fishing after they found out that all the crap and hot air that is spouted from Sydney ultimately ends of in the harbour. Read more about them here.
Anyways, there have been a raft of protest meetings over this issue. Many of the meetings actually held down the coast have revolved around the $8.4 mil buyback of commercial fishing licenses and what recreational use will be alllowed (the jury is still out on this issue). Many people are concerned about what restrictions will be placed on rerecational fishing and wether boats full of half cut, fat punters will still be allowed to cruise the waters chasing flathead, kingfish and the like. After donning my abestos suit and gas mask I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting in Queanbeyan that served as the focus group for all Canberra folk who are interested in having voices heard, and surprisingly the whinging was based over diving and fishing rights, and where Canberrans are going to go to the coast if these activities are not allowed in Batemans.
There have been several moves for the areas economy to start gravitating towards eco tourism and much a kin to pisshead making a bee line for a kebab, this seems to be the first nervous stumble to towards this goal. Watch this space for another cross border drama, that will unfortunately lead to more anti-ACT sentiment down the South coast.