Greens Want Healthy Waterways For Sustainable Fishing

Jonathan Cassell is calling for urgent action to clean up Coffs Coast waterways. Photo: supplied.


JONATHAN Cassell believes we need to approach the issue of water quality with a new level of urgency.

Mr Cassell, Greens Mayoral candidate, believes that the future health and resilience of our fishing community is at stake unless restoration of Coffs Coasts waterway health is fast tracked.

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He said, “Council have known for a long time that our waterways are being heavily polluted by intensive forms of development including urban, industrial and agricultural.

“It’s clear, however, that the state government is working at a snail’s pace to reduce the downstream impacts to industries and communities who depend on healthy waterways,” he said.

Mr Cassell acknowledges that the Coffs Harbour City Council is currently developing a Catchment Management Program for four estuaries around Woolgoolga to be rolled out over the next ten years but feels that progress is too slow.

He said, “The new program Council is developing lists several serious reasons why waterway pollution exists but stops short of removing the cause of the problem.

Mr Cassell said that the Stage 2 report of the program identifies the state government as failing to prevent pollution at all levels of the compliance and regulatory system.

“All credit to Southern Cross University and their research into bioreactors, but addressing the pollution in our waterways is much more than just nitrogen removal.

“Recreational and commercial fishing communities cannot wait for the role out of three inline bioreactors, that currently cost $25,000 each, to be installed at every entrance point to a creek,” he said.

“Neither can they wait for the state government to properly resource compliance and enforcement officers to help effectively reduce harmful farm practices.”

Mr Cassell said, “I have spoken to both commercial and recreational fishers and they both question the point of marine parks if a more sinister threat exists upstream of park boundaries.”

He suggests that Council could include, in their Catchment Management Program, a property buy-back option that would directly reduce pollution run-off.

He said, “We can stop pollution at its source and rezone this land to increase housing and environmental protection.’

A comprehensive summary of the ‘Coastal Management Program for the Woolgoolga Region Estuaries’ can be found on the Coffs Harbour City Council’s ‘Have your say’ website section.


By Andrew VIVIAN

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