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Recreational fishing in marine parks: you can’t be serious!

The NSW Government’s announcement this week allowing beach fishing in sanctuary (no-take) zones of marine parks flies in the face of sensible conservation of precious marine biodiversity. It is a warning…

Only 7% of the NSW coast is currently protected from fishing: it’s about to be 0%. Éamonn Lawlor

The NSW Government’s announcement this week allowing beach fishing in sanctuary (no-take) zones of marine parks flies in the face of sensible conservation of precious marine biodiversity. It is a warning shot across the bows of marine conservation science.

Overwhelming scientific evidence indicates that sanctuary zones protect fish from fishing pressure, and may even provide a benefit to adjacent fisheries through adult or larval spillover.

Marine parks, unlike terrestrial national parks, are zoned for multiple uses, and already include “Habitat Protection” zones that cater for recreational fishing. In fact only around 20% of marine park area in NSW is no-take, so that only about 7% of the coast is protected from fishing. Now that appears to be reduced to zero.

The NSW Government was responding to the report of the Independent Scientific Audit of Marine Parks in New South Wales, delivered last year. Incidentally, this report makes no recommendation that fishing should be allowed in sanctuary zones. While the new allowances by the Government apply only to beach fishing, it is likely that other recreational fishers will demand equity, also calling for access to these previously off-limits areas.

It is a sad parallel with the new NSW Government initiatives to allow recreational hunting in land national parks, and is clearly a bid to court these powerful hunting and fishing lobby groups.

The government response also establishes a new Marine Estate Management Authority and a Marine Estate Expert Knowledge Panel to replace the existing Marine Parks Authority and scientific panels.

The Marine Estate Expert Knowledge Panel will take a broader perspective than the previous scientific panel, and will address economic and social issues as well as scientific, with regard to marine parks. However, given the main purpose of marine parks is to protect marine biodiversity, there is a risk that scientific assessment of the performance of marine parks in biodiversity protection may be de-emphasised.

The newly-appointed Chair, economist Dr Andrew Stoeckel, must maintain a full and close contact with the marine science community to ensure biodiversity issues and outcomes remain at the forefront.

NSW ranks poorly compared to other states in financial support of marine science, and this needs to be addressed to allow adequate resourcing of the ongoing monitoring and research projects that must occur.

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88 Comments sorted by

  1. Wade Macdonald

    Technician

    Quote...."While the new allowances by the Government apply only to beach fishing, it is likely that other recreational fishers will demand equity, also calling for access to these previously off-limits areas.

    It is a sad parallel with the new NSW Government initiatives to allow recreational hunting in land national parks, and is clearly a bid to court these powerful hunting and fishing lobby groups."

    Errrr....there were also social, economic issues in Beeton's report that were highlighted because the existing plan failed cause and effect environmental rationalism against all forms of fishing activity. I though the environmentalists said its not about fishing? Clearly it was!

    As for hunting, only a few from hundreds of NSW NP's were opened up to hunting. Please put these things in perspective.

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    1. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to William Hughes-Games

      Can you please list all the marine scale fish that Australian recreational fishers have made extinct through line beach fishing?

      Answer = 0

      Can you please tell me how many marine scalefish species are now extinct around our coastline from 'all forms' of fishing?

      Answer still = 0

      Do you then consider your link relevant to the governments changes?

      There are plenty of inaccessable headlands that prevent landbased coastal fishing. Closing off popular beaches/estuaries that are safe for kids and local communities to line fish is not going to create mass extinction. There are a plethora of regulations to control this already.

      Do you have the same views against the allowance/promotion of commercial tourism in sanctuary zones? Do you consider recreational fishing a non tourist activity?

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    2. David Semmens

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Extinction is not the only negative impact on biodiversity. Can you list the marine scale fish species that have been driven extinct anywhere in the world by super trawlers? Probably not. But you've made comments on other articles that they have significant negative effects on biological values, such as proving incapable of harvesting sustainably in any fishery they have thus far exploited.

      You don't need super trawlers to achieve an unsustainable harvest or cause negative impacts on biodiversity. You don't even need commercial fishing. Recreational fishers can do that too. Just put "recreational fishing impacts" into a Google Scholar search and you'll find plenty of examples. The effects of overfishing on biodiversity are well documented too.

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    3. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to David Semmens

      Williams link was about extinction on said topic which is hyperbowl. The current change in legislation will not cause such scenarios given existing management regimes.

      Of course some places in the world haven't managed their recreational fishers well but that isn't here in OZ especially these days. Most rec fishers are out there in these environments and far more aware than some keyboard depreciating ban everything environment zealot. We are usually the first to enlighten the authorities when something is wrong with a waterway or stock. We use our licence fee revenue for habitat regeneration programs, fish monitoring/tagging for research and restocking of natives as well as other intiatives.

      Sure recreational fishing has an effect but we do our best to manage/regenerate and mitigate it with the funds we have.

      We do far more than many who hate our recreation through ignorance but contribute to the demand for the resource and pollute every day into our waterways as well.

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    4. David Jones

      Engineer

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      The Eastern Blue Groper was on the virge of extinction through the efforts of recreational line and spear fishermen until given protection of various forms. It is now making a welcome recovery.

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    5. Caleb Gardner

      Principle Research Fellow, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at University of Tasmania

      In reply to David Jones

      Eastern blue groper are a great example of a conservation issue where a threat was identified and fixed by regulation. The problem was solved at the stroke of a pen, involved no buyouts or additional monitoring at great community cost, and the species was protected across the entire NSW coast.
      What a contrast to the current MPA dogma.

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    6. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to David Jones

      Back in the day there were all sorts of detrimental fishing techniques on eastern blue groper. However, today things are different and the rec fishing sector is more times than not, the first to call for sound protection.....with management before unobstanciated exclusion of course!

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      G'day Wade,

      From the dark dim bits of my memory it was largely spearfishing that did the major damage. Too easy by half. And there was a fair bit of shamateurism going on (amateurs selling their catch illegally).

      Cruelled it for all of us. Which is what happens when things go wrong and a species or fishery gets hauled onto life-support.

      Too pretty to eat anyway aren't they?

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    8. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I agree they are a lovely fish and worthy of their current status. I have witnessed a few caught while onboard over many years and on each occasion they were treated with the best care and admiration before compulsory release to aid in survival.

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  2. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    The Shooters and Fishers are not so much powerful as well-placed... holding O'Farrell over a barrell in the NSW Legislative Council with only 3.7% of the total vote. And in order to get any legislation at all adopted, the Government is obliged to pay the ferryman.

    It is temporary. Very. One drunk with a gun in a National Park is all it will take. Just one. And this is inevitable.

    And the Shooters and Fishers will be a distant memory. Won't even take an election. The Government will be unable to be seen to make any further concessions to these mouthbreathers.

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    1. Andrew Sweeney

      IT Manager

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Holding the Government over a barrel. Seriously? Unlike the environmentalist or the Nationals or the unions. Come on, be real. Must be terrible to realize that the Shooters and Fishers party is smart enough the use the game to their benefit.

      Lets also look at what benefit is there is a fisher or hunter destroying his hobby. Most of the Hunters want to see feral species reduced and natives take their place.

      Now lets consider the whole economy that fishers and hunters keep going. Last…

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andrew Sweeney

      Andrew,

      There is a BIG difference between seeking to influence the end result of a piece of legislation and demanding that the government do X if it wants its legislation passed.

      It often occurs that a minor party will hold the balance of power especially in our absurd state upper houses. But in the overwhelming majority of caes they use their position to ensure that the proposed legislation is modified or improved or reflects their constituency's viewspoint or interest.

      That's not what…

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    3. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Now, now Peter.

      The rec fishing sector has influence in more wide reaching sectors of society than I care to list on here. There are nearly 1 million rec fishers in NSW let alone the country.

      Political parties like the Greens would do well to understand this fact before biting off more than they can chew. The recent WA election and the divide between rec fishers and environmental groups over MPA's is a case in point.

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      No argument re the number of folks who like drowning worms and the like Wade... do a bit myself when I get the chance.

      What I object to with the NSW Shooters is that they have only one interest and will sacrifice anything at all in pursuing it. So we get a situation where, if O'Farrell wants to introduce new laws on gangs and illegal weapons for example, the Shooters' line is that the legislation will only be supported if he accedes to their demands on an entirely unrelated issue.

      It is analagous to a local independent holding the balance of power, demanding grants, funds and projects for his or her electorate in return for passing any legislation or considering it on its merits. That is blackmail and deeply undemocratic. It is not what a representative is elected to do, to serve only their constituency at the expense of the rest of us.

      Anyway - not worth the argument Wade ... this will all be settled inevitably. One drunk. One shot. Inevitable.

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    5. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yeah...it only takes one bad egg and the rest of us cop it as well.

      True of many political shifts over time.

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    6. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Sadly Peter, the casual "accidental death" of a mere bushwalker at the hands of a government sponsored member of the Shooters & Fishers Party will not force an election in NSW because there is a fixed term government of four years.

      So, while the S&F are at play the other 96.3% of the community are cowering behind their front doors while the Barrier OFascist NSW LIberal government gets on with setting up business with the unelected Premier for selling off public infrastructure.

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    7. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Dream on Peter. If that was the case, a reintroduction of legislation based on the stupidity of the 'one' as you call it would be a complete over reaction. If 'one' incident that took life was enough to ban an activity, surely NO activity would be legal - motor vehicles, skydiving, swimming etc etc etc. If your argument holds true (and due to the power of a range of antihunting, antifishing antialmostbloodyeverything activists it well might) it would indicate the distorted reality in which most of these groups operate.

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    8. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      More whinning, Jack? - I think by fascist you must be referring to the Greens - they who would control all that we are allowed do, right down to what we read. Your use of the quotation marks for the accidental death incident only serves to highlight your bias. Why arent you raging about the deaths on our roads, or any of the other thousands of deaths caused by our myriad other cultural activities? - I guess because hunting doesnt fit into your personal view of the world therefore it shouldnt be allowed to fit into ayone elses either. The only fascist present at this table is you, mate.

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    9. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to John Phillip

      Grumpy John, I am referring to the Barrier OFascist favour to his former (and only) employer, former Premier Nick Greiner, to require sitting MPs to give up their local government positions. This was deliberate payback for the Member for Sydney, Clover Moore, joining forces with Tony Windsor and other Independents in sacking Greiner for alleged corruption, that was proven then lost on appeal.

      Check out my contributions on the alcohol story.

      Of course any death in a National Park under the S&F scheme would be "accidental"; only FBI witnesses in the US Warren Commission were executed on hunting safaris.

      Grumpy John, you sound like an armchair general with a gun fetish. Perhaps you should get out and enjoy bushwalking before the hunters ruin our national parks.

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    10. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Nah, Jack, not an armchair general with a gun fetish (dont even own one), just someone who is sick to death of seeing us have the minutae of our lives legislated to death by some bastard who claims to know what's best for us. I probably snapped your ( and Peter o's) heads off a bit, but I get increasingly frustrated when activists use individual tragedies or stupidity to facilitate the enactment of legislation that controls the rest of us. I seems to be a dumming down trend that our headlong rush…

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    11. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to John Phillip

      John, so if you believe the red tab on every electricity bill in NSW, then the carbon tax and green schemes are the primary cause for all elec price rises in NSW. Barry mandated that as a condition of licensing . Every electricity bill should have this thing, place, size, colour, word for word. Even though green schemes account for 0.3% and 9/10 households are more than compensated for the C. tax component. No mention is made of the other 50% Barry gets a cut of, and has just gone up again, which…

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    12. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice, you've made my point. If people break the law they should be prosecuted. Laws exist to stop the abuse of resources by 'overharvesting' and they need to be enforced. When I fish or hunt, I stick to the mandated bag limits and only take what I use. Why the hell should people like me be caught up in the net cast for those who break the law? Like I said, we are legislating for the lowest common denominator.

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    13. Stephen Prowse

      Research Advisor at Wound CRC

      In reply to John Phillip

      I agree that our lives are being controlled to an extreme. However that does not affect the reason for the establishment of a National Park. One of the very reasons for the establishment of a National Park is that it is possible to enjoy being in the bush without hearing gunshots! Image after a hard days bush walking in a beautiful valley, having set up the tent, cup of tea, sore feet, smell of the eucalypts, no cars; all the reasons one visits a national park; only to hear a gunshot, then a second one then 20 mins later a third. Yes the risk of getting shot is low but it is a matter of principle; why establish a park if people can then wander around shooting things?

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    14. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to John Phillip

      John, I see you live in QLD, you probably don't therefore understand the notice on electricity bills which seeks to mis-lead and blame price rises for everything green. By Barry and Chris.
      You do the same thing.
      I don't know about bag limits, but my father used to walk into the ocean and only take out what we'd eat that night. He became furious when a couple of young-guns walked out with the main head-honcho grouper from the local reef. There was no-one to police this at the time, and some years…

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    15. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Andrew Sweeney

      "hunters want to see feral species reduced and natives take their place" < are Anglo Saxon 'ferals' included in this aim in favour of indigenous Australians? Just wondering...

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    16. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Hi Suzy,If the huntin blokes with the big guts see a white fella with those dreads in a park, they'll be a hollerin, GREEN, bang bang! Oops, thought i wuz a deer, only joking.

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    17. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Most laws are based on the behaviour of the 3% John. Are you galled and incensed that you are prohibited from murdering the neighbours? But still we have these laws that impede and restrict our freedoms should we wish to exercise them.

      Imagine if we ran our traffic on the lawless anarchy operating on Indian roads. Caring parents would be strapping howitzers to the 4WD to go shopping or pick up the kids. But no we a forced - compelled - by jack-booted bureaucrats (backed up by armed police) to keep to the left hand side of the street while there is a perfectly decent empty side of the road going begging just over the lines. I'm feeling so infringed!

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    18. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I dont feel infringed on by those laws. What I do feel infringed on is the complete banning of certain activities on the basis of the actions of a few.

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    19. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to John Phillip

      I've never read anything about marine parks being created because a few over-catch. I thought it was more the total, not that I'm expecting 1,000,000 to turn up to one beach. I'm a bit unsure why you state there's a "complete banning" of some activities. Shooters are welcome in state forests, and on some farms. Fishers have plenty of places to throw a line in.
      It's prudent, not a " green" conspiracy

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    20. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Aw heck John no wonder you're grumpy... arguably all laws are predicated on controlling the actions of the few who would indeed murder, drive on the wrong side of the road or park in the wrong place, given half the chance.

      Well I recall the advent of Volvos and their new fangled blinking warning lights - conferring a divine right to double-park on all Volvo drivers in the 1970s. It was mayhem. I knew one woman who bought a Volvo station waggon for this very reason.

      Point is that when some…

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    21. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I only wish it was 'a bit further down the beach' - seems to be a damn sight more than that though. Thanks, Peter. I will look that up. Cheers

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    22. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alicia, I dont know about it being a green conspiracy. I'll clarify my position by saying that they would appear to represent the antithesis of the shooters and fishers party - particularly as they have been referred to in this particular conversation. It should be clear from my responses that I loathe big government, and , to me, the greens are at the higher end of that big government spectrum, followed by the liblabs and then some of the smaller (generally) conservative parties. That is my main reason for dislikng them - their policies tend to involve more government control and intrusion than we are currently experiencing which, in my view, is far too much.

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    23. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to John Phillip

      Grumpy John, I understand your frustration at apparently being unable to bring about the dynamic responsive to the electorate political scenario that we would all like, but big business believes it has a stranglehold on politicians and definitely has the money to burn on media spin. But "think global, act local" and change can be made to happen, as in the CSG matter in NSW.

      Barrier OFascist is possibly one of the least competent Premiers in the entire history of NSW. His two job working career…

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    24. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Another informative post Peter, you are certainly a man of many interests.

      To add to your history of Sydney Harbour ... did you know that the First Fleeters starved for about nine months waiting for re-supply from India because they refused to eat local game, including local fish from the Harbour. INstead, being English, they would only eat the regulation ship's biscuits and bully beef. Check out Manning Clark Vol1 for confirmation. Meanwhile, a few convicts and the local Aboriginal communities dined well every night on local game foods.

      The consequence was that all English sourced boat people spent their lives looking east out to sea (backwards, if you like) rather than westwards where the wealth of the country could be found. SEt an unfortunate precedent that remains today.

      (Shows you how stupid the English were, doesn't it?)

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    25. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Too many interests for my own good Jack :).

      The locals around Sydney Harbour had a rather excellent and delicious diet in which Sydney rock oysters played a prominent part.
      Modern residents now pay top dollar for them - not that you'd be slurping on anything pulled off a rock nowdays.

      That book I mentioned above Angling in Australia has an oustanding collection of original descriptions of Aboriginal fishing practices on Sydney Harbour and elsewhere. Fish and seafood played a very big part…

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  3. Caleb Gardner

    Principle Research Fellow, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at University of Tasmania

    Recreational fishing in MPAs highlights the problem of the current obsessive focus on MPAs as the tool of choice for marine conservation. Marine parks don't reduce fishing effort, they just shift it to other areas. So if we establish MPAs we're then faced with the choice of either having increased fishing across the wider coast (bad for conservation and costly) or allowing fishing inside the MPA (pointless and costly). The desire for MPAs obviously sprang from the terrestrial system of national…

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  4. David Semmens

    logged in via Twitter

    I'm curious. The hunters and fishers party seems to be simultaneously arguing that hunting in National Parks will significantly reduce the numbers of pest species, but that fishing in National Parks won't have significant effects on the populations of target species.

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  5. William Hughes-Games

    Garden weed puller

    Hi Wade
    The point is not the extinction of fish. Have a look at the URL below. The point is that in a protected marine area, fish (and other organisms) can get large and spawn and populate the surrounding area with larvae. In addition, most of our fishing methods select out the oldest (and hence largest) and best genetically (and also hence largest) and leave the runts to breed. No sane farmer would behave like this. In a protected area, the more usual sort of selection for the biggest and…

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    1. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to William Hughes-Games

      Hi William,

      Thanks for the clarification here.

      I understand that density dependent body growth factors play a part in limiting growth in demersal species with increased population density. Spillover is not exponential.

      While it takes a big rise in localised biomass to create such a scenario, this happens almost exclusively to severely depleted fisheries only. The exception(s) possibly only being relevant here in OZ surrounding highly demersal species that are also highly targeted species such as rock lobster and coral trout.

      Sanctuary zones and MPA's more generally have their place as marine conservation tools but are touted to do the impossible by some environmental groups. When all current science/management/polution/detrimental tourism and natural variation factors are considered for our situation the reality of MPA potential is far from a hollistic soultion in most circumstances.

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  6. William Hughes-Games

    Garden weed puller

    Hello Caleb
    If the reserve areas are large enough, and I would like to see at least 20% which we are pushing for in New Zealand or better still, 50%, the fishing in the permitted areas will increase beyond anything we can imagine. Better still, regulation would become very simple. You could express it in one sentence. ""If you fish in a protected area, we will take you off your boat, remove fuel and anything else that might pollute the ocean and sink your boat."" No if's, and's or but's. You would only need to do this a few times and the problem would virtually stop and fish stocks and hence catch per unit effort would soar.
    http://mtkass.blogspot.co.nz/2010/12/fisheries-policy-lets-change-tacks.html

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    1. Caleb Gardner

      Principle Research Fellow, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at University of Tasmania

      In reply to William Hughes-Games

      Hi William,
      MPAs will almost always reduce fishery production. There are rare exceptions in Australia which are: (i) where the stock is overfished and the MPA acts to control effort, albeit inefficiently, (ii) where there is spatial heterogenity so that catch is allocated more effectively (eg where the MPA includes an important spawning ground).

      The general case that MPAs reduce fisheries production is well established in fisheries population dynamics - see refs below. Incidentally, this…

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    2. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Caleb Gardner

      Well said Caleb again.

      NSW sanctuary zones went from 22,000 sq hectares to 72,000 sq hectares over 10 years under Labor. This still didn't address the demand for the resource, it just displaced the fishing effort and saw a reduction not an increase in demersal species stocks outside the zones.

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    3. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to William Hughes-Games

      HI William, this proposal reminds me of the action taken by NZ PM Piggy Muldoon about 1977 when the Japanese fishing boat refused to stop at the "request" of the NZ Navy. A flight of jets were scrambled on the PM's direction and given the orders to shoot across their bows, and if they didn't stop then to sink them with the second shot.

      The Japs stopped, an international row erupted because NZ protected their 200 nautical mile territorial claim ... and nine months later NZ dairy farmers had exclusive access to the Japanese butter market.

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  7. William Hughes-Games

    Garden weed puller

    Hi Andrew
    No one wants to stop people from fishing. Quite to the contrary. We want a situation that when you fish in a protected area, the fishing will be incredibly good. Having significant areas off bounds to fishing will do this.

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    1. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to William Hughes-Games

      It isn't that simple, read some of the other posts on here.

      Some coastal sanctuary zones are riddled with nutrification runoff and biodiversity has not improved. Some of NSW sanctuary zones have seen massive fish kills because of nutrification and poor marine park authority dredging rules for river mouths etc.

      Despite this....Sydney Harbour has recently been designated a fish biomass mecca despite all these factors including high recreational fishing pressure.

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      News today of a massive fish kill in the Hunter River - big enough to beach the rivers's small and well managed commercial fishery. The reason according to the EPA - low 02 levels due to floods over recent weeks. Yeah sure.

      This needs some serious external investigation. The EPA initiated and administers a sort of market based permit system in which the Hunter Valley's immense coal industry trade permits to release waste water during high flows. The EPA is far from unconflicted in this matter.

      And I agree entirely with your comments that to protect fisheries and ensure their health, then protection of estuarine systems and river water quality is absolutely essential.

      And I would suggest - in the absence of any base-line data regarding safe salt levels when this EPA scheme was designed and established - that there is evidence of a theoretical experiment in trading leading to adverse physical and ecological outcomes.

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    3. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I agree entirely with your assessment here.

      It beggars belief that these events are not addressed properly time and time again.

      As Caleb mentioned, the focus on MPA's has contributed in part to ingressive and invasive effects being ignored by our authorities. While this is not the intention of any community stakeholders through MPA's, it is a comfortable distraction for those who seek to politically grandstand by drawing another line on a map instead of doing some root cause analysis.

      In SA, 'existing' industrial drain pipes that run straight into sanctuary zones will not be removed or capped under the EPA legislation. However, fishermen were also 'existing' but are not afforded these same exemptions? We are much cheaper to remove despite the loss of seagrasses in our gulfs. That is the crux of selective environmental ignorance.

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Not many nibbles here tonight... so here's some background on this waste water release scheme.

      I was working for the NSW NPWS 10-12 years ago. I was doing some work on trading systems and "market based" environmental programs and was given a copy of this set-up that was being touted as a fantastic success by everyone and his dog.

      There'd been problems with the market gardeners down near Maitland (pumping their irrigation water from the Hunter) who were complaining that their crops were burning…

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    5. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks for that rundown Peter.

      The depressing part about it is, if you add up everyones experiences around the planet it would be in the same ilk as the SBS channel moto.....'Six Billion Stories' and counting!

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    6. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      That assumes everyone has a story. Or just one.
      Or than indeed any of it is worth telling.
      Since we learn nothing from other people's stories - only our own.

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    7. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Yes Wade, and Sydney Harbour is still polluted from the former Homebush Bay UC chemical site with the fish unfit for human consumption.

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    8. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hi Peter, I understand your frustration. The problem is trading systems that protect the right of the polluters to pollute by passing on the cost of their pollution to the consumer. The rich corporations continue polluting under government licence while the relatively poor consumer dies of contamination. Consider the health risk of living at Speers Point, site of the former Pasminco smelter, for example.

      Perhaps a better solution would be to provide hefty penalties for pollution while simultaneously providing attractive tax concessions for research into new ways of resolving the pollution problem.

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    9. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      C'mon Wade, Sydney Harbour is also polluted by the former Union Carbide site at Homebush Bay, now Olympic Park, that has deposited toxic sediments on the Harbour floor resulting in commercial fishing being banned. The cost for rehabilitation before the 2000 Olympic games was conservatively estimated at about $250 million.

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    10. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Commercial fishing is not permitted in sanctuaries either and trawling in the majority of MPA's. The harbour smashes MPA's for both big fish and biodiversity despite 10 years of MPA's in other areas, pollution and heavy recreational fishing.

      http://www.southernhighlandnews.com.au/story/1188528/paradox-of-woes-and-the-fishes/?cs=12

      Recreational landbased line fishing in sanctuary zones will have little to nil impact on the potential of that sanctuary when all other detrimental factors that influence that sanctuary are considered.

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  8. William Hughes-Games

    Garden weed puller

    Hi Wade
    Your point that many reserves have land oriented problems is both true and very important in this debate (which, I am pleased to see, has been very diplomatic and to the point). To my way of thinking, this doesn't lessen the need for marine sanctuaries but points to a need for a rethink on their nature. Most marine sanctuaries are areas of a few tens of square kilometres adjacent to the shore. Taking the New Zealand example, with our huge zone of economic exclusion, I would like to see marine sanctuaries extend right out to the border of this zone.
    By the by, in the link I included, I wasn't trying to imply that fishing will send some species to extinction although, in fact, we have sent some species to economic extinction. I was only trying to show how abysmal our husbandry of a huge resource has been over the past few hundred years and suggesting a way to fix it. You might get a kick out of this link.
    http://mtkass.blogspot.co.nz/2011/09/whale-poo.html

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    1. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to William Hughes-Games

      Ha, yes I have read a couple of articles on whale poo before.

      Your right that other detrimental factors do not lessen the need for some areas designated as sanctuaries. If anything it increases the need however, you cannot expect the limited impact of rec fishing to be the sops of uncontrolled industrial progress either.

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  9. Bruce Pease

    Econetwork President

    Hi Dave,
    You are exactly right. However, I would like to add a couple of points. In the media release, the opening of ocean beach and headland sanctuary zones to recreational fishing was justified by a statement in the Marine Parks Audit final report correctly indicating that there is a significant lack of scientific knowledge about some habitat zones, particularly the ocean beach zone. Apparently, Barry O. and Katrina H. have come up with a new management paradigm called the Inverse Precautionary…

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    1. Caleb Gardner

      Principle Research Fellow, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Bruce Pease

      They actually applied the precautionary principle correctly as defined internationally. No nobel prize I'm afraid, nothing new.

      Kearney, R., Buxton, C. D., Goodsell, P., & Farebrother, G. (2012). Questionable interpretation of the precautionary principle in australia's implementation of 'no-take' marine protected areas. Marine Policy, 36(3), 592-597.

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    2. Adrian Meder

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Caleb Gardner

      Or, as in the paper provided, the precautionary principle as "it is argued" by a policy article supported by the Sydney Fish Market. This paper rolls out the good old 'MPAs don't address pollution/invasive species/etc. threats' argument. Issues best dealt with pollution/invasive species/etc. management processes, I think. I am a firm supporter of incorporating broader catchment, development and biosecurity management into marine park management, and indeed the wider marine estate (If only it were…

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    3. Bruce Pease

      Econetwork President

      In reply to Caleb Gardner

      I wouldn't cite a definition of the precautionary principle applied to recreational fishing by Bob Kearney as "defined internationally". Bob has been a staunch local supporter of recreational fishing and opponent of "no-take" sanctuaries for many years now. I prefer an unbiased definition from Wikipedia: "The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an act". In this case, I take "those taking an act" to be recreational fishers or their political supporters.

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    4. Caleb Gardner

      Principle Research Fellow, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Adrian Meder

      "Because there is marine park advocacy (unsurprising, given the NRSMPA process timeline) in the headlines does not mean the other issues are not being advocated for."

      I'm sorry but I don't see this. Nature Conservation Council of NSW and Environment and Heritage NSW do seem to be putting all their effort into MPAs. The Nature Conservation Council go so far as to say “Marine sanctuaries .. are one of the strongest forms of protection available to vulnerable species such seagrass meadows…

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    5. Caleb Gardner

      Principle Research Fellow, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Bruce Pease

      Hi Bruce,
      I recommend playing the ball not the man on this one. Wikipedia isn't exactly a good source and the Marine Policy reference I gave is very well researched in my view. It tracks the way the principle has been formally defined in international marine policy (ie it's not a subjective definition created by the authors). You can make up your own mind on whether or not the principle was applied correctly in NSW MPAs.

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    6. Bruce Pease

      Econetwork President

      In reply to Caleb Gardner

      Hi Caleb,

      If the publication you cited is the ball, it seems to me that you started by playing the author. I am quite happy with the simple definition in Wikipedia, which is provided by an internationally recognized expert on the subject.

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    7. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Bruce Pease

      Uhm ... Bruce ... you would "be happy with the simple definition in Wikipedia" ... regardless of the alleged expert status of the alleged contributor? Boy!! Do YOU have a lot to learn about scientific research methodology!!!

      Check out Caleb's work address ... you only get there by being both excellently qualified and extremely good at your job.

      Geez ... some shamateurs scientists give me a dose of the diahorrea.

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    8. Bruce Pease

      Econetwork President

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Hi Jack,

      I just joined this Conversation to provide some support for my friend, Professor Dave Booth and didn't bother putting in a profile. I have updated my profile for your benefit.

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    9. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Caleb Gardner

      Caleb, I think Bruce is confused on the PP as he should be referencing Peter Garret and the environmental groups the minister held meetings with prior to pushing their propoganda around the country.

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    10. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Bruce Pease

      Bruce, no offence intended here but even the title of this article is misleading.

      Recreational fishing is still allowed in the majority of MPA's and always has been.

      Many 'rec fishing only zones' are still more productive than other completely closed areas within MPA's.

      David Booth would do well to put these facts into perspective first to avoid respondents needing to clarify on here themselves.

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    11. Bruce Pease

      Econetwork President

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Hi Wade,

      I agree. Dave should have specified "recreational fishing in NSW Marine Park sanctuary zones". However, I assume anyone who read the media release would know this.

      In relation to your comment above in relation to Peter Garret, I was an invited participant in the Workshops for generating recommendations from the NSW Marine Parks Audit. That is how I know that there was absolutely no consideration of recreational fishing in NSW Marine Park sanctuary zones in the final recommendations from the Audit. I didn't see any sign of you or Caleb at the Workshops.

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    12. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Bruce Pease

      OK, that profile is suitably impressive. I retract my comment regarding "shamateur scientist".

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    13. Bruce Pease

      Econetwork President

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Hi Jack,

      I am afraid I have become very unimpressed with the recreational fishing lobby in NSW after seeing their emotional dark side on many issues. I can't help seeing elements of greed and confusion in this Conversation. Did you know that approximately 35% of the estuarine waters in NSW are now closed to commercial fishing, primarily due to the pissing and moaning of recreational fishers? Most of these areas are now designated as recreational fishing "havens". Now the recreational fishers…

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    14. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Bruce Pease

      Peter Garret is in federal politics not state and the precautionary principal discussion above is in reference to those meetings not yours at NSW state level as described.

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    15. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Bruce Pease

      Quote..."The problematic issues of this concept are related to human safety"

      Safety can be a major factor if zones displace both boat and landbased fishing to dangerous areas.

      Quote...."Confusion of issues in this Conversation is obvious from analogies drawn to the debate over hunting in terrestrial National Parks. These two issues are completely different!"

      I don't see people shooting and successfully releasing kangaroos do you?

      My four year old son and I catch and release fish using lures and can fish very benign to the environment. Try doing that with a .303.

      The only confusion being created here is by your lack of understanding.

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    16. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Bruce Pease

      Thank you for your considered reply Bruce.

      A renewable resource is only an good as the bag limits and geographic exclusion zones provided for the target species. Consider the demise of the Murray Cod for example.

      No bag limits, no exclusion zones, no fish.

      If the style of advertising required to extract money form them is anything to go by then the recreational fishing lobby are generally boneheads ... modern city people playing at being re-enactment pioneers with all the comforts of their modern home at hand.

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    17. Bruce Pease

      Econetwork President

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Hi Wade,

      Thank you for clarifying all these issues I obviously have no idea about. Nobody ever told me that the New South Wales Marine Parks Audit was a state government initiative.

      I do know that rock fishing off ocean headlands is one of the most dangerous sports in NSW but nobody ever told me that rocky ocean headlands in Marine Park sanctuary zones were significantly less dangerous to fish from than rocky ocean headlands outside of Marine Park sanctuary zones.

      I had no idea there were…

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    18. Bruce Pease

      Econetwork President

      In reply to Caleb Gardner

      Hi Caleb,

      I would like to play another man on this one. If you want to find out what MPA's (and Terrestrial protected areas) are all about I suggest you complement your library with some of the publications by another friend of mine, Professor Bob Pressey. I notice Bob has an article currently in the Conversation. You will be happy to see that he is critical of the new Commonwealth Marine Parks. When it comes to conservation using protected areas he is THE man in Australia and around the world. Is it true that Antarctica is the largest terrestrial and marine protected area in the world?

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    19. Caleb Gardner

      Principle Research Fellow, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Bruce Pease

      Hi Bruce,
      Yes, I read Bob Pressey's article when it came out (there's a link on this page - picture with a sawshark) and have seen some of his publications. As you suspected, I liked his last piece because it repeats my point that the process of declaring MPAs involves too much rhetoric and not enough science. He highlights the problem of placing MPAs being around emotion, politics and square km.

      I noticed that he's worked as an environmental consultant, which I think is neither here nor there…

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    20. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack,

      No bag limits, no exclusion zones, no fish.

      Rubbish......!

      I don't know where you get your current info on murray cod from?

      The future fish foundation and other programs run by rec fishers are the best assets murray cod have got unlike many poeple who complain about us because they are ignorant to the facts.

      Try focusing on de snagging of the river, farming extraction of water for irrigation, pesticide ingression, salinity and the introduction of pests like carp if you want to point fingers.

      There are none so blind....

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    21. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Caleb Gardner

      Caleb your point about % sanctuary and sq km's is a good one as we all know that many marine species are not found in all habitiat types. The resultant economic impact of a zone can be far greater than the false impression measely % based arguments give the masses.

      For example.....the western end of Kangaroo Island has a sanctuary zone that produces hundreds of kilos of abalone meat weight per annum. You will not get this sort of productivity in the majority of surrounding ocean because it simply doesn't have the neccessary factors but guess where the sanctuary zone is placed.

      This area was fished sustainably but that science (including only partly declaring this area as sanctuary zone for the sake of someone's sustainable business) is not welcomed by the pro exclusionist movement of conservation clowns.

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    22. Bruce Pease

      Econetwork President

      In reply to Caleb Gardner

      Hi Caleb,

      I guess I am confused about just what you are advocating in this Conversation. I agree that the process of selecting protected areas and assigning multiple use categories is often flawed and admit that the MPA's in NSW marine parks are not ideal. However, I know that scientific information did go into a public and transparent process for designating the MPA's that we have been living with for a number of years now. At the heart of this system is the concept that an area of each major…

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    23. Bruce Pease

      Econetwork President

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Hi Wade,

      I am sorry that you take offense to my literal translation of your critical response to my comments.

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    24. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Uhm Wade ... have you spoken to local inland fisherpersons about the present abundance of Murray Cod compared to past bags recorded in pics in published books over the last 100 years? There is serious evidence that these slow growing monsters are declining under irrigation policy, carp attack, CSG extraction & pollution ... and considerable overfishing paying scant attention to the survival of that species.

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    25. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Bruce Pease

      Quote..."At the heart of this system is the concept that an area of each major habitat type needs to be designated as a sanctuary zone where human intervention of all types (including extraction of fish and invertebrates by recreational fishers) is restricted."

      Recreational fishing of all forms until now in NSW was banned not restricted in sanctuary zones. However, human intervention of 'all types' as you stated should be really be 'other types' as many of these other industrial and/or recreational…

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    26. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Of course I am as I stated some factors above. Many blame overfishing but they are blind to the other factors including all we do as rec fishers to fight against these threats killing the rivers. Bag limits/size limits/closed seasons have been in place on all states for years. Your comment suggested this wasn't the case.

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