Locals say scallop dredging a threat to Bremer Canyon

Locals say scallop dredging a threat to Bremer Canyon
The Albany Advertiser
By Talitha Wolfe
June 23, 2016
The Bremer Bay community and environmental organizations have called on the Federal Government to discontinue scallop dredging in the proposed Bremer Commonwealth Marine Reserve.
A proposed Bremer Commonwealth Marine Reserve is being considered by the Federal Government as part of a review of the management of Australia’s marine parks.
This review does not currently protect the reserve from scallop fishing which involves dredging the sea floor and occurs every few years.
Bremer Bay Dive and Sport’s Craig Lebens, a local of 20 years, said continuing the dredging could be disastrous for the fellow ecosystems in the reserve.
“To properly protect this area however, we need a commitment to restoring the ban on destructive scallop dredging in the Bremer Marine Park,” he said.
“Scalloping fishing can be very damaging and we don’t feel it is something that works in within the idea of the park.”
The Save Our Marine Life alliance have added their voice to the campaign and Pew Charitable Trusts oceans director Michelle Grady said the group wants the Federal Government to consider the impact of the commercial fishing process.
“All indications are that the review is recommending scallop dredging be allowed to continue in the park — this is a cause for great concern,” she said.
“Scallop dredging is also not high value, the economic opportunity for Bremer Bay is dive tourism, whale watching and recreational fishing, that a marine park underpins.
“The likely direction coming out the Federal Government’s marine parks review is bad for Bremer Bay.”
Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson would not comment on the details of a draft plan but said there will be some protection of the Bremer Canyon.
“The level of protection for Bremer Canyon will be far greater than what has existed under the current plan,” he said.
“The $100,000 committed to research funding will also assist the Government identify options for protecting this marine area.”
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