The NSW Department of Primary Industries and Minister Katrina Hodgkinson have released a proposal that would see commercial netting take place in Bournda Lagoon and Sandy Beach Creek, located inside the Bournda National Park
THIS MUST BE STOPPED!
Currently there is a ban on all types of commercial fishing in both the creek and the lagoon, the proposal would allow for the mesh netting of the system targeting all species of fish using 300m wide nets. Bournda Lagoon and Sandy Beach Creek are located in a National Park, they are vital habitats to many species of Flora and Fauna including more than a dozen threatened species, the park is an important element of the local tourism industry and is the home to a number of sacred Aboriginal sites. For these reasons and the more detailed below this proposal should be rejected in full.
1. Both Bournda Lagoon and Sandy Beach Creek are located inside the Bournda National Park, a place the NSW Government itself describes as a “Natural Playground”. This is no place for a Commercial fishing operations, it is a sanctuary to a large range of Flora and Fauna, protected for all citizens of Australia to enjoy and be managed in a sustainable fashion. More than Ten threatened species call the park home including Koalas, Long-Nosed Potoroos, two threatened species of Frogs and more than 200 varieties of Birds. Currently the Lagoon is only accessible by walking track, any vehicle access that would be created for a commercial operation would be a blight on the landscape and require the destruction of the Lagoon’s surrounding environment and habitat of many of the parks fauna.
2. Bournda National Park is home to one of the largest Campgrounds on the Far South Coast of NSW, enjoyed by thousands of locals, visitors and school groups throughout the year. Tourism is a vital aspect of the economy of the Far South Coast and the Commercial fishing of Bournda Lagoon would gut the waterway of the fish many recreational fishers come to seek. It would also greatly impact on other Marine and Bird life that are viewed and enjoyed by all visitors. In the Christmas/Summer period the park is at capacity with tourists who come to relax, bushwalk, swim, fish and canoe. This influx of visitors provides a great boost to the local economy in a sustainable fashion that provides many jobs while protecting our shared natural heritage.
3. The two primary species of fish located in Bournda Lagoon, Southern Black Bream/Yellowfin Bream and the Estuary Perch are both long living native species of fish which are only sustainable when fished by recreational anglers who catch and release sexual mature fish. Both species are capable of living to over 30 years old and do not reach sexual maturity until the age of 5 or more in the Lagoon. A single season of commercial fishing could therefore wipe out the entire population. The proposal by the DPI and the Minister allows for the use of 300m wide nets, in NO part of the Lagoon or the Creek is there an area more than 300m wide, meaning that such a net would indiscriminately capture and kill all marine life. Bournda Lagoon is currently closed to the Ocean and has only briefly opened one time in the past 15 years. It is therefore impossible for the Lagoon to ever naturally restock if current residential breeding sized fish are netted.
4. Aboriginal people of the Dhurga language group of the Yuin tribe lived in the Bournda area. There is a continuous and unbroken connection to the land that has previous been recognised by the NSW State Government. Bournda National Park is home to 26 sacred sites a number of which are located directly adjacent to the Lagoon. These sites are so vital to protect that the NSW Government previously warned that “The coastal and estuarine sites are particularly vulnerable to disturbance by recreational use.” Yet now contend that a Commercial operation would have no impact. Further highlighting the absurdity of this proposal.
We the petitioners call on the Minister and the DPI to immediately scrap the proposal to allow for any type of Commercial fishing in Bournda Lagoon and Sandy Beach Creek, any other outcome is simply unacceptable to the community.
Tanja State Forest, home to Koalas, Powerful Owls, Yellow-Bellied Gliders and Open forest and Rainforest communities is due to be logged with the majority of this beautiful forest going to the Eden Chipmill for pulp, selling off our heritage at bargain basement prices.
Forests NSW have ignored protests and concerns by the local community to protect this area from being trashed and chipped and are bent on destroying it.
On Tuesday night I attended the Tanja Forest Koalas Community Meeting. The following resolution was unanimously voted on –
1. Calls for an immediate and permanent end to logging of Tanja forest
2. Calls on the NSW Government to permanently protect the Tanja Forest koalas and provide long term protection for all koala habitat within Tanja State Forest to guarantee the long term viability of the Koala population on publicly owned land; and
3. That koala habitat on private land be used only in conjunction with State Forest and not instead of State Forest to provide secure long-term habitat security
For Dr Berryl Carmichael, the Darling River is her livelihood.
Berryl remembers a time when the river water was as clear as the ocean, a place where she played and learned the traditions of her people.
“We used to have great fun going down and pumping the yabbies out,” she said.
“We used to put our foot in the hole instead of setting traps and the yabbies would back out the other hole.
“We grabbed the yabbies and put them in the bucket so we had a feed.”
Over the years, Berryl has noticed different species come and go from the system, like the catfish.
“We used to always catch catfish and they were a beautiful food,” she said.
“Especially if it was your totem, you needed that catfish, a bit of your spirit food to feed your spiritual self.
“Now today you can hardly get a catfish in the river.
“Things like that connected the people to the water.
“It is fast disappearing, it’s very sad.”
On the longer term health of the Murray-Darling Basin, Beryl says he is concerned for the next generation.
“What about the fish dreaming?” she asked.
“This is when the Aboriginal people need to come together again and let our voices be heard loud and clear.
“It’s the life vein of our people.”