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Friday, 12 September 2014

We Fish applauds Coalition marine park review

The Coalition government makes good on its election promise and announces the chairs and terms of reference for the Expert Scientific Panel and Bioregional Advisory Panels for its independent review of the Commonwealth marine park management plans.

This is a good move in the right direction with the current Commonwealth marine park management plans clearly showing to be grossly inadequate offering virtually no protection, while at the same time wrongly removing some user groups from the area. The review panels will report to the Government by mid-2015.

An Expert Scientific Panel, chaired by Associate Professor Bob Beeton, will look closely at the science supporting the new marine reserves.

Professor Beeton is Associate Professor at the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management at the University of Queensland. He has recently chaired the 2011-12 NSW Government Audit of Marine Parks and is a past chair of the Australian Threatened Species Scientific Committee as well as the Australian State of the Environment Committee.
Other members of the panel include Mr Peter Cochrane, Adjunct Professor Colin Buxton, Dr Julian Pepperell and Dr Sabine Dittmann.

Five Bioregional Advisory Panels (one for each marine region, except the South-east marine region) will ensure that communities, marine-based businesses and other interested groups are consulted about the management of marine reserves in those areas.
The Bioregional Advisory Panels will be co-chaired by Professor Colin Buxton, Adjunct Professor of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, and Mr Peter Cochrane, Australian Government Ambassador for the IUCN World Parks Congress, Adjunct Fellow at the Fenner School for Environment and Society Australian National University, and the former Director of National Parks.

Other panel members include:

North Bioregional Advisory Panel
Mr Joe Morrison
Mrs Katherine Winchester
Mr Matthew Barwick

North-west Bioregional Advisory Panel
Dr Andrew Rowland
Mr Brett McCallum
Associate Professor Stephan Schnierer

South-west Bioregional Advisory Panel
Dr Andrew Rowland
Mr Clayton Nelson
Ms Sue Middleton

Temperate East Bioregional Advisory Panel
Mr Simon Boag
Mr Stelios (Stan) Konstantaras
Professor William Gladstone

Coral Sea Bioregional Advisory Panel
Mrs Judy Lynne
Ms Larissa Hale
Mr Neville Rockliff

Greg Hunt MP

The Hon Greg Hunt MP & Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck media release

Fishing world and ARFF
Australian Marnie Alliance

Changes to NSW recreational fishing rules

A total of 16 changes to the recreational fishing rules will apply to fishers from 3 November 2014. This includes a number of changes to possession limits, bag limits, one size limit and other rule changes.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Marine scientist, Rob Lewis

Here we have an article in the Adelaide Advertiser 9th Sep 2014
By a marine scientist, Rob Lewis. Former director of SA dept Fisheries, former director SARDI, and former presiding member of the marine council of SA.

Not quite sure were to start with this one, but for a second put everything else aside apart from the fact that this marine scientist doesn’t think that more frequent reviews of the management plans of marine parks are a good idea.

Management plans provide for the protection and conservation of the marine reserves. Management plans must set out how the reserves are to be managed. The plans provide certainty about the activities that will be allowed and not allowed in the reserves and must be consistent with the relevant Australian IUCN Reserve Management Principles which define how the marine reserves should be managed.

So in basic terms the management plans, manage the threats, let’s just go back on step, first before you can properly manage the threats you not only need to know what the threats are,  but how much of a threat they are. Without this information any management plans are fairly useless.

This marine scientist thinks that properly managing the marine parks would be a distraction to marine parks, he claims it would continue tensions and arguments between stake holders.

I would like to make a suggestion to Rob Lewis, if scientist like yourself actually did your job properly to protect our marine environment instead of using it as an opportunity to run an anti-fishing campaign then there would be much less tension.

How important are management plans? Let’s take one of the oldest marine parks in the country, the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Announcements of the escalating damage to the Great Barrier Reef confirm Australia's most famous Marine Protected Area has not been properly protected. UNESCO's shows Australia is in danger of becoming the first developed country to have World Heritage Status of an area revoked.

Now you will hear from many people who claim they care about our marine environment, blaming the Liberal government or mining companies for this threat to our GBRMP. But you will hear very little about the people/groups/political parties who have been at the forefront of advocating for marine parks, and management plans that allow this to happen in the first place.

It is increasingly obvious that management within the whole of the protected areas network has been, and remains, inadequate. If we had proper management plans or if they were revised more frequently, than dumping dredge waste on a marine park would simply not be allowed, it really is quite that simple.

An in my opinion I think it’s time that the people who really do care about the health of our marine environment start asking people like marine scientist Rob Lewis, who have been advocating that fishing should be banned in the management plans but something like dumping dredge spoils  shouldn’t.

Rob Lewis, again perhaps this is the reason for this tension you talk about. Perhaps it is because you have failed in your role as a marine scientist to provide honest unbiased facts, instead dishing out this crap.

As for the claim that marine parks increase fish stocks, this is not so black and white.  This is where Mr Rob Lewis uses a little bit of selective science. Yes in the absence of effective fisheries management marine parks have been shown to increase some fish stocks, but this is hardly surprising. If we had two apple trees and you were not allowed to take fruit from one of them, you don’t have to be a genius or in fact a marine scientist to work out which one would have more apples on it. The question how ever is which tree and surrounding environment would be healthier?
Banning fishing doesn’t necessarily benefit all the species of that area,  in fact having a larger amount of species anglers target in the area would in most cases put extra pressure on their prey, and its these very species that are facing the greatest threat. You might have seen a very nice marine park poster with a leafy sea dragon on it, with some claims about it needing protection! They want us to protect the leafy sea dragon by banning anglers targeting the very species that eats this leafy sea dragon! And they wonder why there is tension?

But what’s even more important is that is becoming clear that if we have affective fisheries management than the benefit of banning fishing is demonised greatly to the point that there is no net benefit in angler target species.

In finishing I would like to say to Mr Rob Lewis, instead of unfairly attacking fishing go out and do your job and protect our marine environment, so that my kids and all future generations can enjoy what we all enjoy today!

In our online world we now live in, your worlds Mr Rob Lewis will be around for all to read in the future and to decide if you were one of those that helped protect our marine environment or the reason it was destroyed!  

Friday, 5 September 2014

Opportunity to make SA marine parks a little fairer

We need all anglers to sign and share this petition and all angling groups, fishing media, fishing personalities, the tackle industry and anyone that has anything to do with fishing to not only promote this petition but plead with its followers/ fans/viewers/customers to sign it and share it. So far the support from the few I have spoken to has been amazing.

  Share the link

We as anglers need to stick together now more than ever, the vote on this private members bill will have affect us all even never plan on going to SA for a fish, just last week the VNPA (Victorian National Parks Association) has once again raised it head to advocate the expansion of Victorian marine parks, after 4 years of hiding, since its 2010 joke of a desk top study that looked like it was written by a 7 year old shame, and according to the article it appears they have got a commitment from the Victorian Labor government.
Labor has committed to “the creation and protection of a world-class system of national and marine parks”.

Some back ground information on SA

State Liberal Environment spokeswoman Michelle Lensink, has introduced a Private members bill into the SA parliament that will effectively allow fishing to continue in 12 of the 84 marine parks to come into effect on the 1st October this year, by changing the zones from sanctuaries to habitat protection.

The Private members bill

This bill has already been passed in the State parliament’s upper house and now needs to be passed in the Lower House on the 16th September.  But it will need the support from the two independents Geoff Brock and Martin Hamilton-Smith who hold the balance of power if it is to get up.

Make no mistake about this, with NSW allowing land based fishing to continue in marine sanctuaries, the federal government rewriting the management plans for the commonwealth marine parks (it’s the management plans that prevent fishing). The tide has begun to turn on PEWS dirty little plan and they know it!
They have sent their big gun Paul Sheridan to try and get their desired outcome. Some of you remember Paul Sheridan from a previous blog update.

This time PEW has enlisted the support from a few dive shop owners in SA, to spruik its propaganda this is the Facebook page they have set up.

This group has been relentless on removing any post and banning anyone that doesn’t share its propaganda message; legitimate concerns about our marine environment have been removed if it doesn’t suit their propaganda machine. This group isn’t concerned with the health of our marine environment one bit, but totally focused on continuing PEWS unwarranted attack on fishing in Australia. Below are just a few screen shots of posts that have been removed.

The hypocrisy of this attack is second to none, while it is advocating the banning of fishing in marine parks, PEW and its puppets the Save SA marine parks group completely fail to even acknowledge other threats, a clear example is shark feeding tourism, which is now globally recognised by experts to not only negatively change shark behaviour but also modify they bio diversity of the area. The SA government has even named Rodney Fox the shark dive operator as their SA marine park ambassador, what a joke! Of course the last thing PEW wants to do is attack a small minority who blindly support them even if their actions threaten the very area they say we need to protect! 
Here is a link to a recent SA study that lightly touched on the shark feeding issue, there are plenty more available just Google it.

The CAR model of marine parks that PEW has been pushing requires a precautionary approach, where you regulate any activity even if the evidence is inconclusive!

So here we have a group advocating the banning of fishing in areas that are currently in pristine condition. Now there might be a case to have some sort of regulation to fishing in areas that are in very bad condition, but banning fishing in our well managed fisheries has very little to no benefit, there is nothing that we cannot do better and more efficiently with our current fisheries management, that using marine parks that are a very blunt tool, that do little more than banning anglers form these areas, simple MARINE PARKS ARE NOT A FISHERIES MANAGEMENT TOOL!

As I write this the PEW and 4 dive shop owners petition opposing the Liberal Environment spokeswoman bill has just under 3000 signatures, lets show them just how much of a minority they are, and what recreational fisherman can achieve when we are pushed!

Please don’t just sign and share the link to our petition, but promote the hell out of it, ask everyone you know to sign it and promote it as well. The sleeping giant has awoken and he is pissed!