Local man to stand up for fishers

FISHING FOR VOTES: Legislative Council candidate Damien Smart inside his fishing shop
FISHING FOR VOTES: Legislative Council candidate Damien Smart inside his fishing shop

PORT Lincoln business owner Damien Smart is hoping to enact change to marine park legislation he views as damaging to the fishing industry of South Australia.

He is running as the second candidate in the legislative council on the South Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party's (SAFLP) ticket at the upcoming state election. The party wants to repeal SA Marine Parks Legislation 2007.

Mr Smart said the South Australian government had wasted millions of dollars introducing marine parks, and sanctuary zones, which will come into effect in October.

"Marine parks and sanctuary zones just lock people out," he said.

"It is a result of government spin."

He said the government had worked to "divide and conquer" the different fishing sectors because it was easier to fight against small groups, resulting in marine parks and sanctuary zones being established.

"We want to unite the commercial, recreational, charter and aquaculture industries to work together against sanctuary zones."

"We want to a return to fishing and biodiversity being managed by PIRSA."

He said even if the current government stayed in power and continued with its plan to establish sanctuary zones, it would be unable to maintain them.

"They don't have the money or the man power to police them, or even mark them, except on GPS."

He labelled the parks a "waste of time" and said they wouldn't work to maintain biodiversity.

He said he believed the government sanctuary zones wouldn't work, but it had ignored many other issues he said were "a greater threat to biodiversity."

"They haven't fixed water run-off problems, they haven't stopped pollution, they haven't done anything about ballast water from ships being dumped."

As a small business owner, Mr Smart also wants to "cut red tape" and make it easier to run small businesses, if elected.

"After all, small businesses are a major employer in South Australia."

The lead candidate for the SAFLP is Neil Armstrong, based in Adelaide.