28th July, 2011
Today Lee Johnson, Managing Director for Perth Scuba held a press conference at 10AM, FRIDAY July 28 on the Dolphin Dive Vessel.
Scuba Industry Calls for Marine Protection
Perth's SCUBA industry is concerned that it has not been consulted on the Federal Government's marine sanctuaries, due to be announced within the next few weeks.
Lee Johnson, managing director of Perth Scuba, said that he's concerned that some of the most iconic and vulnerable areas aren't going to be protected under the new marine sanctuaries.
"We are pretty disappointed that we haven’t been consulted.
“The input of other stakeholders such as the fishing and mining industries have been consulted by the Federal Government, but our views have been ignored.
“Our industry is dependent on a healthy marine environment.
"We're the eyes under the water, and we're seeing a constant decline in the numbers of large fish at dive sites right throughout the Southwest, it is our perspective to the problem should not be ignored.”
"There are now 400,000 divers in Perth, with tens of thousands of new divers certified each year.
"The industry contributes millions to both the metropolitan and regional WA economy each year through sales, tours and promoting regional tourism.
"The Federal Government recently released plans for new marine sanctuary areas in the commonwealth waters of Western Australia’s southwest, but there are no marine sanctuaries near any popular diving areas.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to speak to the diving community about where marine sanctuaries could contribute to protecting biodiversity and the diving experience in the south west.”
“In particular, marine sanctuaries in proposed marine parks near Rottnest, the Abrolhos and in Geographe Bay could make a big contribution to our industry.”
“It’s not about stopping fishing, but in modern times there are many users of the ocean and there must be a balance. It is time that conservation and observing marine life were given an equal place at the table,” said Mr Johnson.