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Paper parks or a world-class system of ocean protection?

The federal government’s recent announcement “reproclaiming” the new Commonwealth Marine Reserves overturns previous plans to protect Australia’s marine biodiversity, and review the management of Australia’s…

Going fishing? 96% of Australia’s coastline is still open to recreational fishers. Flickr/deswalsh

The federal government’s recent announcement “reproclaiming” the new Commonwealth Marine Reserves overturns previous plans to protect Australia’s marine biodiversity, and review the management of Australia’s marine parks.

The previous government planned to introduce a limited number of “no-take” marine sanctuary zones, which would exclude commercial and recreational fishing. The new government appears to be arguing that it is possible to allow recreational fishing and still protect biodiversity.

This is a significant opportunity to improve ocean protection in Australia. But calls for a scientific review and yet more consultation are concerning, because there is already a very strong scientific case for highly protected no-take zones. The announcement also appears to ignore the impact that fishing, recreational or otherwise, can have on marine biodiversity, and that marine reserves can improve fishing outcomes.

Buckets of science

What are the benefits of no-take zones? Fortunately scientists have been asking that very question, and there is now plenty of evidence that such zones are vital for protecting our oceans.

Highly protected, no-take marine reserves, also known as marine sanctuaries, increase the diversity, abundance and size of fish around the globe. In Australia, marine sanctuaries also generate significant benefits.

A blue shark and a black marlin captured on video footage as part of scientific monitoring of the proposed marine reserves. University of Western Australia

Indeed, the benefits of marine sanctuaries are sufficiently evident that thousands of international scientists have signed multiple consensus statements on the importance of such areas to ocean health as early as 2001 and as recently as 2013 with statements noting their unique role in ecosystem management.

At a time when we see ongoing declines in our fish populations, research demonstrates that no takes marine sanctuaries not only benefit ecosystems, but fisheries too. In the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, approximately half of commercially and recreationally fished coral trout is produced from no-take marine sanctuaries that represent just 28% of the region.

In other parts of the world, fish abundance increases in areas outside but near to marine sanctuaries, without disadvantaging fishers. The economic value of fisheries can also be greater next to marine sanctuaries.

And recreationally, the best fish are caught on the boundaries of highly protected marine sanctuaries with the non-market value to recreational fishing increasing.

Beyond fisheries benefits, recent research from Tasmania shows that highly protected areas can provide resilience in the face of climate change.

What does all this science say? Put simply if you don’t remove fish from a few places, they become bigger and more abundant. Big fish have disproportionately more offspring, and push smaller fish outside reserves. These two facts create a “spill-over effect” — the effect that should be making recreational and commercial fishers drool with excitement — bigger fish and more fish. And on top of that, the environment is more resilient to change.

Effective fisheries management is essential to healthy oceans; highly protected no-take marine sanctuaries help.

Recreational fishing hurts fish too

The federal government’s announcement mirrors a worrying trend that ignores the impact of recreational fishing.

Recreational fishing — as a component of global catch — is large, growing, and can be both unrecognised and poorly understood with respect to total fish mortality.

We can see this impact in some Australian fish. In Western Australia, both dhufish and herring are considered overexploited, with recreational fishing accounting for about half of the total fishing mortality.

In NSW, mulloway, which is largely taken recreationally, is listed as “overfished”, with the status of recreationally targetted eastern blue groper, pink snapper, flatheads, and morwongs varyingly considered “uncertain”, “fully fished”, or “overfished”. None of these species were assessed as healthy when, earlier this year, the NSW government allowed beach fishers back into state marine sanctuaries.

The romanticised view of recreational fishing as a bloke in a tinny having little impact on fish is inaccurate. It ignores the dramatic increase in fishing power associated with improved recreational fishing technology, increases in recreational boat sizes, and just plain human population growth, trends that are recognised by many recreational fishers.

An opportunity for better marine parks

The federal government has called the previous regulation of marine parks a “lock out” on recreational fishers from vast tracts of ocean. But this is misleading.

Overall, 96% of Australia’s marine environment within 100km of our coast remained open to fishing under the now-defunct commonwealth management plans and existing state plans. The 13.6% of our overall waters afforded a high level of protection were largely offshore and inaccessible to fishers.

At a state level, marine wildlife has even fewer areas of refuge with, for instance, less than 5% of WA and 7% of NSW State waters afforded a high level of protection. These outcomes are well below international benchmarks of protection.

And therein lies the opportunity. The government has stated that “we are protecting the marine reserves but rejecting the flawed plans”.

As we’ve shown, there’s a large body of science demonstrating the benefits of no-take marine sanctuaries, both for conservation and fisheries. To achieve its objective, the government now needs to accept this science, and base new plans on scientific guidelines.

The new management plans, to be released by July next year, should increase the area zoned as no-take marine sanctuaries. These areas also need to be representative of the diversity of our oceans rather than being out-of-sight-and-out-of-mind.

The government must not pander to special interests and avoid dragging the process out as pressure on Australia’s oceans continues to mount. The science is clear: conservation benefits flow from full protection and not partial protection.

Australia has a tremendous opportunity to both protect its own marine biodiversity while making a major contribution to the health and resilience of the world’s oceans. We look forward to the government embracing the science supporting marine sanctuaries and creating a truly world class network of highly protected and representative marine reserves.

Join the conversation

43 Comments sorted by

  1. Dale Bloom

    Analyst

    Except for QLD with its reef areas, about 7 out of 10 species of fish caught from the coastline or rivers owe their existence to mangroves and wetland areas.

    They were either born and breed in the mangrove and wetland areas, or they eat something that was.

    So protection of mangrove and wetland areas is of prime importance to any fishermen, either recreational or professional.

    With an increase in “infill development”, where wetlands and floodplains are filled with rocks and soil, and then a housing suburb built on top, there are simply less and less mangrove and wetland areas left.

    So fishing may decline anyway, regardless of offshore marine parks.

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    1. Adrian Meder

      Conservation sector

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      We need to have all the tools, and use them well. The proposed coal port development along the Northern QLD coast could have disturbing impacts on recreational fisheries all along the coast, given the importance of mangroves and wetlands as you rightly point out. Let's hope conservationists and fishers can take an effective stand together on this very important issue.

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    2. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Adrian Meder

      Dumping the dredging spoils from a place such as Abbot Point will probably affect local sections of the GBR, but such ports will have minimal impact on mangroves and wetlands areas throughout Australia.

      Most of the mangroves and wetland areas occur in that tiny sliver of land between the Great Dividing Range and the sea, and often it is not more than 20 to 50km across.

      I have been literally working on a road that runs over the Great Dividing Range, and it only takes 20 minutes to travel by car to get to the sea.

      Most of the population also occurs in that tiny sliver of land, and there is no way to increase the population without destroying wetlands, floodplains and mangroves.

      We can increase the human population, but there is no way to increase the fish population as well.

      It cannot be done.

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    3. Hugh McColl

      Geographer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Dale, the coal loading facility at Abbot Point is located ON a very large coastal wetland. The planned, and recently approved, expansion of this facility will not only mean large scale dredging and associated marine sedimentation, it will result in direct loss of a substantial area of onshore wetland through expanded rail corridors, coal unloading and stockpile areas and all the associated hard standing, dongas, access roads, fencing - the list is endless. Every isolated incident adds a little more load to the whole.

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    4. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Adrian Meder

      Adrian,

      I find the below link informative regarding impacts to recreational fishing and I would like to see the authors promote our recreation by writing up an article that defines what is important to us.

      I can't help but feel some professionals just do not understand there is a plethora of ethics that define our sector and that many rec fishers are more environmentally aware, knowledgable than conservationists. I would hate to see what people, industry would get away with in our streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries and oceans if rec fishers eyes and ears were removed.

      http://anglingforconservation.org/water-quality/

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    5. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Hugh McColl

      I am familiar with Abbot Point, and very familiar with the nearby Whitsunday Islands.

      Along the coast around Abbot Point there are a number of creeks and mangrove areas, and there are actually coral reefs that someone can swim out to from the beach north of Abbot Point.

      Much of that coral and the nearby Whitsunday Islands will probably be affected by spoils of increased dredging for Abbot Point (with the equivalent of 150,000 dump trucks being emptied into the sea).

      But considering food…

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    6. Adrian Meder

      Conservation sector

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Totally agree - there's good work that could be done together in many of these issues. Some - too little - is being done already.

      The flipside is that there is an enormous misconception that conservationists are anti-fishing. There's a couple, sure - less so in marine conservation - but on the whole, that idea is total garbage. They're for conservation. I can understand if positions harden after years of unshakeable ideologically driven debate and conspiracy theories, but you'll find the majority…

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    7. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Adrian Meder

      I am pretty sure I have read that report Adrian thanks anyway. We already have a 6 week statewide ban on snapper in SA and more recently 5 spatial closures that extend another 6 weeks on top under the fisheries act. This ignores many other exclusion areas for other species and specific commercial activities. We also have 19 aquatic reserves closed to fishing and defense zones.

      This hasn't stopped the ENGO's from wanting another 80 plus zones however and they are still not happy go figure?

      Lucky our society went into bat for disabled fishers, kayak fishers who are range limited plus many other factors the ENGO's didn't care about in SA. It was a bitter, polarized battle that I never want to go through again.

      It's never easy when people close to you are impacted in various ways and your fighting scientific working groups and ENGO's that just want 30% shut.

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    8. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Adrian Meder

      Adrian, there are plenty of anti fishing elements within the conservation sector. I have sat across the table from a few over the years.

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    9. Nick Kermode

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Hi Wade,
      Thanks for your part in a really interesting discussion, I am learning a lot. However, nearly all the points raised on both sides concern the issue of what is taken by rec fishers. Is what they leave behind discussed much at all by those deeply involved? As a diver I see many coastal sites just absolutely clogged up with rubbish from rec fishing activities. In fact I am a part of dive clubs and know of several others that try to clean up these sites as much as possible on organised…

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    10. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Nick Kermode

      Thanks Nick,

      First point, bottom fishing adjacent artificial and natural structure makes some rig and line loss inevitable. Other methods of fishing like surface trolling lures for pelagics etc don't result in the same problem. Big stingrays suck to the bottom and can cause line breakage.

      For landbased fishing plenty of us fishermen get lumbered with cleaning up other fishers mess as well. Most serious fishers are pretty good, it's those once a blue moon holidayers, unknowledgeable hoons or…

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    11. Ben Diggles

      Aquatic animal health specialist at DigsFish Services

      In reply to Adrian Meder

      Unfortunately the MPA debate has caused deep divides between recreational fishers and pro MPA environmentalists, as lead by groups such as Pew Charitable Trust and Save Our Marine Life, who have consistently lobbied for 50 to 100% of certain areas of Australias EEZ to be closed to all forms of fishing. I can only guess they went down this road by thinking "if we ask for 50-100%, then 33% won't look so bad". I note that Possingham was funded to do one of these analyses, paid for by Pew, for the…

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    12. Ben Diggles

      Aquatic animal health specialist at DigsFish Services

      In reply to Ben Diggles

      And in the spirit of being constructive, we need to get into a position where options are available for those displaced by MPAs, like a commercial fisher out of a job, or indigenous people alienated from their land, who need opportunities. One such opportunity could be special zones where they could, for example, conduct ecocharters, perhaps taking out the other displaced group (recreational fishers) who could undertake catch and release fishing (no take) for particular species, under permit if…

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    13. Jessica Meeuwig

      Professor & Director, Centre for Marine Futures at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Ben Diggles

      Ben
      Your comments contain a few errors.

      First, catch and release fishing is not automatically a benign activity that can be undertaken in no-take marine sanctuaries with no biodiversity impacts. See http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165783605001682 for data on 51% mortalities for dhufish post release and http://www3.carleton.ca/fecpl/pdfs/Bartholomew%20Review.pdf for a global review. The latter authors conclusion was that post release mortality can conflict with goals of no-take…

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    14. Ben Diggles

      Aquatic animal health specialist at DigsFish Services

      In reply to Jessica Meeuwig

      It is nice to hear from you Jessica, but unfortunately I have to reply to your post to correct some misconceptions. Its clear you have cherry picked some extreme mortality rates for a species of fish (WA Dhufish) which suffers from barotrauma (pressure damage), when those actually working in the field recognize that the study in question may have had some problems with design – ie. The cages which held the fish post-capture were likely to be too small and there may have been a cage artifact affecting…

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    15. Jessica Meeuwig

      Professor & Director, Centre for Marine Futures at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Ben Diggles

      One only has to look at photos from rec fishing blogs to see that species such as dhufish and baldchin groper (amongst others) are susceptible to barotrauma, regardless of whether you like the specifics of the St. John and Syers study. And if reports from WA charter boats are correct, samson fish (Seriolas) are being taken by sharks either on the way up, or post release, with effective mortality undocumented.

      We can argue it back and forth on various studies but the point is that to date, we can’t…

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    16. Ben Diggles

      Aquatic animal health specialist at DigsFish Services

      In reply to Jessica Meeuwig

      “We can argue it back and forth on various studies but the point is that to date, we can’t confirm that catch and release has no mortality, which is what is required to suggest it is equivalent to no-take”

      The issue Jessica, is that there is no instance of zero mortality in the natural marine environment, so to suggest that zero mortality is the height of the bar that needs to be reached before any research on catch and release should be done is rather an extremist view. Even so called non extractive…

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    17. Ben Diggles

      Aquatic animal health specialist at DigsFish Services

      In reply to Ben Diggles

      These last few posts arose from a simple constructive question: Why is catch and release (a MPA management tool that is used overseas), not being used as a management tool to resolve conflict in Australia ? Comparing the status quo here to the lessons learned on MPA implementation by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP, who suggest C&R as a useful tool, see http://www.worldfishcenter.org/resource_centre/WF_2018.pdf), it became clear to me that this unwillingness by some to acknowledge C&R as a potential solution is a case study of why the current review of MPA management plans was needed. When the lessons learned by the likes of the UNEP are ignored, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of others.

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    18. Ben Diggles

      Aquatic animal health specialist at DigsFish Services

      In reply to Ben Diggles

      Readers of the above exchange are encouraged to read a new paper on this exact topic, a global review that has been published by Cooke et al. (2014) Angling for endangered fish: conservation problem or conservation action? Fish and Fisheries DOI: 10.1111/faf.12076 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/faf.12076/abstract

      Consideration of the evidence from the case studies presented in the paper and potential application of similar management arrangements in the Australian MPA context are needed.

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  2. Colin Creighton

    Chair, Climate adaptation, Marine Biodiversity and Fisheries

    Thanks Dale for stating what should be the obvious but unfortunately seems to be missed - no marine biodiversity unless we repair our estuaries. Yes close to 75% of our commercial catch and about 85% of our recreational catch has a estuary dependent phase to their life history. [Its 85% for rec because most rec fishing is closer inshore]…..and of course all the attendant biodiversity that is part of our marine food chain

    Marine parks remain lines on maps and those marine scientists blind to an…

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    1. Colin Creighton

      Chair, Climate adaptation, Marine Biodiversity and Fisheries

      In reply to James Whitmore

      Yes James it does talk about NSW. I used the Murray example because the cause - impact - consequence is so clear there. Yes the stock is in decline in NSW but it is not over-fishing per se. It is called loss of major wetland / nursery areas like Everlasting Swamp and Tuckean Swamp [Clarence and Richmond estuaries respectively. Add the to the barraging of the wetlands their draining / exposure of acid sulphate soils and you have the basic causes of population decline - no habitat and poor water quality.
      "Overfishing" in the case of the Govt classification here relates to the now available much reduced population with the reasons for the reduced population more due to habitat loss and water quality decline. It is not as simple as the article portends it to be!

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    2. James Whitmore

      Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Colin Creighton

      Thanks for expanding on that Colin, it's worth it to build a bigger picture! For anyone else following, have you got a link to research on the NSW mulloway?

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    3. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to James Whitmore

      James I would like to know how recreational fishing of mulloway can be quantified as unsustainable against the 100 plus fish kills NSW stuffers each year from euthrophication as well as the lower size limit and waste from commercial beach haul netting?

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    4. Steve Posselt

      Civil Engineer, Adventurer

      In reply to James Whitmore

      I like the comments on habitat. Whilst I agree with the article in general it seems to me that habitat is the crucial issue. Sorry, this is only anecdotal but comes from discussions with people on my kayak trips. My examples are not evidence, but food for thought.
      1. Great Sandy Strait residents, all retirees, got together to try to establish when they reckoned their fishing declined. They all agreed a rough year, they then looked at what happened around then. It was the Mary River barrage at Maryborough…

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    5. Colin Creighton

      Chair, Climate adaptation, Marine Biodiversity and Fisheries

      In reply to Steve Posselt

      Thanks Steve - and right on the mark.
      Of course if we can get back wetlands we will achieve a lot and it is possible for many of these remaining drained areas are no value to agriculture anyway.

      The opportunity I find particularly compelling is the oyster and mussel reefs [eg see Port Phillip opportunity in the Vic chapter].

      http://frdc.com.au/research/Documents/2012-036-Business-Case.pdf

      These reefs were the basis for things like the Port Phillip snapper fishery and yes - they were in…

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    6. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to James Whitmore

      I think other commentators have covered land use, water quality, regeneration programs, industrial impacts, pest management etc....

      Obviously for many rec fishers, inland and coastal access. ENGO's can claim coastal sanctuary zones only take up 7% of the coast in NSW but that is only another form of access removal.

      Try adding in increased coastal and inland private land, coastal industrial and urban development, wharf access restrictions etc.

      Many points raised in this article seem to claim rec fishers as being selfish but I can tell you that we see a bigger picture than many scientists ever will.

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    7. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      I should also mention ocean aquaculture as there is no point fishing within cooee of those areas.

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  3. Colin Creighton

    Chair, Climate adaptation, Marine Biodiversity and Fisheries

    Hi James and all
    Yes there are lots of factors - but habitat it the key issue. Fish and prawns are naturally fecund [have lots of young] with prawns recruiting to the fishery annually and species like mulloway or flathead at age 3.So stock replenishment IF there is habitat, no barriers and suitable water quality is assured.
    For a more detailed summary i invite all to go to http://frdc.com.au/research/Documents/2012-036-Business-Case.pdf

    Here you will see state by state the priority habitat repair…

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    1. Steve Posselt

      Civil Engineer, Adventurer

      In reply to Colin Creighton

      Thanks for the FRDC business case paper Colin. It makes fascinating reading.

      Just taking the comments inland for a moment. I have designed many fishway gates in my life, and have been horrified to find that Fisheries are "on the nose" when it comes to infrastructure. They are seen by organisations such as State Water as a just a pain in the bum and to be given as little funding as possible.

      Maybe that is not true across the board but it is certainly true in many cases on NSW rivers where there is enormous scope for innovation but interest is minimal.

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    2. Colin Creighton

      Chair, Climate adaptation, Marine Biodiversity and Fisheries

      In reply to Steve Posselt

      Afraid Steve its a bit of a legacy of single objective agencies. Any water resources development usually negatively impacts on fisheries….why many of us have concerns to ensure the development of northern Australia is done carefully and with multiple objectives thereby retaining these bountiful fisheries.

      Of course its also the "tyranny of the commons" and how private benefit usually overshadows long term sustainable pub;lic benefit and how simple messages like "more marine parks" are often misleading. marine parks have their place but of course they are not the entire answer.

      Being positive - overall our understanding and actions are starting to repair fisheries…so its really about all of us continuing to advocate and ensure the more complex issues are understood.

      Have to sign off now - sailing to Sydney from north Qld and laptop battery running low.

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    3. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Steve Posselt

      Agreed Steve, well said. We can't get funding for fishways for the Adelaide hills system and every year fish die by the thousands.

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  4. Andy Bodsworth

    Sustainable Fisheries Consultant & Advocate

    Thanks Authors for a timely, objective and informative piece. And totally agree with habitat protection sentiments in various comments. I hope that MPA benefits like improved fishing opportunities and greater resilience in the face of oh so many serious threats to marine productivity and biodiversity are recognised and supported by all of us who love the ocean and its various critters; including industries, regulators etc. The impending review can be valuable if done well??

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  5. Wade Macdonald

    Technician

    Recreational catch uncertainty means we need to do more science not ban the sector with arbitrary percentages first.

    Often recreational estimates are derived from a small population sample of fishers and when adding waste and bycatch to commercial figures we just don't compete in the far majority of cases, or its a low commercially targeted species by volume.

    The coral trout benefit was a well used cherry pick but I would like to see what biomass of herbivores or other fished species exist inside that zone with all the ferocious trout to avoid?

    We can debate until the cows come home over what needs to be done but I still think the authors have focused on fishing too much when advocating marine parks.

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    1. James Whitmore

      Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      The focus on fishing is partly a result of what we asked. Knowing it would be the part that gets the most attention (from both sides of politics), we asked if recreational fishing really was a major concern for marine biodiversity. Jessica and co have put forward a pretty compelling case that it is, but it's been good to read other perspectives in the comments. I always like this article on finding better ways to negotiate marine parks regulation https://theconversation.com/go-fish-why-fishers-dont-care-for-marine-parks-14558

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    2. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to James Whitmore

      Fair enough James and that article reference I remember well. I think the case they make is poor in this article. Do these scientists realise that despite recreational catch rates on snapper 75% of rec caught snapper in SA are returned to the water because of existing regs? Not all survive when barotrauma is involved but that doesn't happen in our shallow gulf systems. I wonder what motives scientist have when ignoring such facts?

      Also I am one of a group of fishers who catch an release mulloway fish in the port river. We tag some for research as well and know they survive because we receive feedback when they get caught again.

      I spoke to a senior scientist with our state environment department and asked if us rec fisher were unsustainable. His answer was no.

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    3. Darren O'Shannassy

      logged in via email @ozemail.com.au

      In reply to James Whitmore

      Under the section titled "Recreational fishing hurts fish too" the link against "large" is for s study using Canadian data and the link against "growing" refers to recreational fishing in the USA.

      It would be helpful if our scientists were funded to study the recreational fisheries in Australia. I think extrapolating from international studies and then applying them to the Australian situation is flawed. Our fisheries are different to those two countries and so are the population of fishers.

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    4. Adrian Meder

      Conservation sector

      In reply to Darren O'Shannassy

      I agree that research on recreational fishing in Australia has been neglected in the past, but that doesn't automatically discount the value of international research.
      The research on smoking and lung cancer probably wasn't done in Australia either, but it has had very important applications for this country, despite differences in our populations.

      A whole host of fisheries management research, data and modelling tools underpinning our fisheries management was developed overseas - perhaps unsurprisingly, our fisheries management is world class, because we use almost all the good stuff. The recreational 'bag limit' and 'size limit' weren't invented here, and yet are - rightly so - primary tools for managing Australian recreational fishing.

      The loss of our automotive manufacturing industry is a sad thing (in my opinion) but it's not happening because of a need to literally reinvent the wheel.

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  6. Wade Macdonald

    Technician

    Quote....."The romanticised view of recreational fishing as a bloke in a tinny having little impact on fish is inaccurate. It ignores the dramatic increase in fishing power associated with improved recreational fishing technology, increases in recreational boat sizes, and just plain human population growth, trends that are recognised by many recreational fishers."

    Recreational fishing participation in SA was 450,000 in 1990, today it's estimated at 236,000. Population growth has nothing to do…

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    1. Steve Posselt

      Civil Engineer, Adventurer

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Interesting to read the comments on various groups - greenies, commercials, recreational etc. All these groups have intelligent members, and dickheads and dumb buggers. Probably all have a common goal though - increasing life in the water for everyone.

      I don't like hunting, don't like guns, don't like some hunters. But hunters are out there in the landscape seeing it for what it is. It is the duck hunters in NZ who have managed to get some wetlands restored. That's good for fishers.

      The issue that I have is people making judgments that are ill informed, having no idea what is going on in the real world. It is the people who are out there seeing and experiencing that count. That includes all types of fishers, but not desk jockeys who see it all on a computer.

      Luckily there is common ground in all sorts of areas. It is surprising how close an intelligent Greens Party member is to an intelligent National Party Member in a lot of parts of Australia

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    2. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Steve Posselt

      Thanks Steve,

      I spent weeks as a kid out bush with my father and learnt how to hunt and gather. Sure we had backup food supplies but didn't need it at times.

      Many rec fishers believe that academic science is lost in political motivations and support your statement that the public on the water are far more capable of managing it. The title any academic works under these days means nothing to us, only their knowledge and how impartial they present that matters to us.

      I can accept that rec…

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