Bongin Bongin Swim Club Wants to Exclude Fishermen From Mona Vale
  • December 18, 2022
  • NorthernBeaches Angler's Club
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The tranquil Mona Vale, home to the Bongin Bongin swimming club, has been swept into a wave of controversy that has the community divided. Recently, the swimming club sought to make the bay area a no-take, no-fishing zone, a proposal that has sparked a heated debate among residents, environmentalists, and the local fishing community. Bongin Bongin Swimming Club had taken to the Northern Beaches Council to persuade them to make the area exclusively a swimming area with no fishing allowed. The basin is an area for all not just wealthy swimmers who want to keep their neighbourhood free of “tourists” from other areas that come to fish.

At the heart of the matter is the conflict between recreational activity and the preservation of the marine ecosystem. The swimming club has been accused of using misleading evidence to justify its proposal and mask their perceived intent to restrict access to the area, primarily targeting non-locals, who often come in from the Western suburbs of Sydney. This move has raised questions about inclusivity, environmental responsibility, and community harmony and any claim it is discriminatory in nature.

Local critics of the swimming club’s proposal raise some compelling arguments. The contention is that if the drive is truly about environmental protection then it should be an all-encompassing approach. Swimming Club critics pointed out that swimmers are guilty of their share of environmental disruption from leeching of toxic sunscreen into the bay to disturbing natural bait formations. They’ve argued that if they were genuinely committed to protecting Bongin Bongin Bay they would address higher-risk environmental threats such as sewerage and stormwater runoff.

A fishing ban supporter was suggesting that before the aquatic reserve at Cabbage Tree Bay was implemented, the area was a “desert.” Marcus Lincoln-Smith who surveyed the marine environment for the reserve, refuted this claim emphasizing the false nature of the statement. Lincoln-Smith also expressed concern over the proposal’s image depicting 50 swimmers crossing the bay highlighting potential detrimental effects including sunscreen toxicity and disruption of the bay’s ecosystem.

The debate also parallels the controversy over the proposed lower Sydney Harbour areas that were marked to be closed for the Sydney Harbour Marine Park. Critics suggest that areas like Camp Cove and Clifton Gardens were included despite having no special environmental value accusing the ultra-rich residents of using the closures to keep out what they perceive as lower classes.

As the community deliberates on the issue it is essential to remember that Mona Vale is for everyone and should remain accessible to all. It’s crucial that any efforts for environmental conservation are balanced with a fair approach to the rights of all members of the community, whether they are locals, non-locals, swimmers, or fishermen. It seems that the consensus among most locals is the need for a broader and more inclusive approach towards environmental protection, rather than an exclusionary and potentially discriminatory one.

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