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Marine Park Plan Worries Tuna Industry

The battle for the state’s coastal waters is expected to erupt this week between the $600 million seafood sector and the State Government over its marine parks plan.

Angry fishermen will confront Environment Minister Jay Weatherill when he arrives in Port Lincoln on Thursday for talks.

Fishing industry leaders have warned of severe consequences -including job losses and lost income- if the plan to place 46 per cent of the state's waters into marine parks goes ahead as proposed.

Fishermen warn the plan also threatens to frighten investors away from the seafood sector and force fishing and aquaculture companies to move interstate. Port Lincoln tuna fisherman Hagen Stehr said he had warned Mr Weatherill of an impending stoush.

“This will be the mother of all battles,” Mr. Stehr said.

“The government has just backed down on its proposed changes on the oyster industry and this will be a hell of a lot bigger.”

The Northern Zone Rock Lobster Association, SA Sardine Industry Association and Spencer Gulf and West Coast Prawn Fishermans Association say SA already had one of the world's best managed fisheries.

Mr. Weatherill said the release of details about the marine parks’ outer boundaries was the first step and would be followed by widespread consultation in the next eight weeks.