World Wildlife Fund: Net-free zones could save sea life

THE Australian arm of the World Wildlife Fund has thrown its support behind the Palaszczuk Government's decision to create net-free fishing zones on the Capricorn Coast and Fitzroy Delta.

The proposal includes bans enforced near Cairns, Mackay and in three Central Queensland areas - Corio Bay (inclusive of Keppel Islands), Fitzroy Delta and the Fitzroy River.

The government has set aside a $10 million compensation package to buy back commercial fishing licences from operators.

But commercial fishermen have been angered by the proposal, saying the zones would cost their businesses.

World Wildlife Fund Australia spokesperson Darren Grover said zones would help protect sea life, including turtles and the rare snubfin dolphin.

"We know that nets can kill air-breathing marine creatures who suffer a terrible death held underwater until they drown," Mr Grover said.

"Sadly, in recent years Queensland authorities have occasionally found dead dugongs and snubfin dolphins, killed in nets, then weighed down with concrete to avoid detection," he said.

"With no mandatory independent observer program for fishing we believe there may be many more animals being killed."

The Reef 2015 Plan included a commitment to protecting the Fitzroy Delta through net-free zones.

"We can't just pick and choose which parts of Reef 2050 are put into action," Mr Grover said.

"Australia must follow through on all commitments, including a net-free zone, to avoid an 'in danger' listing in the future," he said.



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