|Anglers are to lobby the State Government to ensure many of the Port River’s best fishing spots are excluded from a proposed dolphin sanctuary.
The South Australian Recreational Fishing Advisory Council yesterday expressed alarm that popular locations including Pelican Point, St. Kilda, Outer Harbor and The Barker Inlet could be declared off limits to the anglers.
A map of the proposed dolphin sanctuary study area released this week covers waters from Largs Bay through to Pt. Gawler and the entire Outer Harbor/Torrens Island waterways.
The waters within the study area produce large numbers of blue crabs in spring and summer, and mullet, whiting, mulloway and bream all year round.
The sanctuary is being established ot protect more than 250 dolphins that live in the Port River area.
SARFAC executive officer Trevor Watts said yesterday tens of thousands of anglers would be disadvantaged if all locations within the study area were closed to fishing.
“There are 453,000 recreational anglers in SA and a large chunk of them fish in this area regularly,” he said.
“We acknowledge the map is only a study area, but previous experience tells us these often turn out to be what actually happens.
We will be doing everything we can to ensure these areas are kepy open for fishing.”
Chairman of the metropolitan Recreational Fisheries Committee Geoff Thomas said the Port River area was a “socially important recreational fishing location” because of its accessibility.
Tackle shop owners were also concerned at the scope of the sanctuary following the closure of West Lakes to recreational anglers.
“Further losses due to possible restrictions to access for recreational anglers in the Port River will lead to the collapse of their business,” he said.
Environment Minister John Hill said yesterday any decision on possible closures within the sanctuary was some way off.
“I cannot rule out that in or out at this stage. No decisions have been made on that yet.,” he said.
“There is certainly an issue to do with entanglements in fishing lines.”
“It seems to me we should be addressing the fishing line issue, not whether or not people fish there.”
I’m more worried about the pollution that goes into the water than people fishing in it.”
Mr Hill also said the study area map was not the final boundary of the sanctuary.
“We have not determined yet where it ought to be, that is why we are consulting,” he said.
Public submissions to the steering committee close on September 27.