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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Conservation, not confrontation, says activist

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Karl Goodsell is the founder and director of the Byron Bay-based Positive Change for Marine Life (PCFML), a group that is trying to change the ‘gung-ho’ approach to marine conservation by working with communities rather than confronting them.

‘Through inspiring people to take charge and become stewards of our oceans we hope to stand together as one voice towards a sustainable future,’ says Karl.

PCFML, which currently has more than 100 members, was founded on the principles of creating long-term positive change to marine conservation issues worldwide.

‘Our aim is to work with inhumane and unsustainable industries worldwide,’ says Karl.

‘We want to approach those industries with understanding, education and respect. We want to try to form viable long-term alternatives that benefit not only the animals and the environment but all involved parties, through eco-tourism and other industries that can create profit and that are also healthier for the environment’.

Karl says that the only way to create positive change is through working with people.

‘We need to understand the reasons these industries exist and the history, culture and financial incentives that are associated with them in order to implement viable solutions.’

The group is involved in many areas of marine conservation from cetacean hunting, turtle and animal rescue, and unsustainable fisheries to nuclear power-related issues in Japan, legal shark-fin fisheries on the Great Barrier Reef and a fin-free restaurant campaign in Australia, as well as finding solutions for the eradication of marine debris in Australia through research and volunteer-based projects.

Recently returning from a trip to Japan, Karl says the big project they are working on is cetacean hunting – the porpoise and dolphin drive hunts – and also coastal whaling.

‘We are working in Taiji at the moment. We are focusing on working with the community there rather than against them to create eco-tourism.

‘Taiji has an amazing history of whaling. It is the oldest whaling town in Japan, and dates back to the days of the Samurai when there was great respect for the animals.

‘One whale would feed seven villages over three months. They would use every single part of the animal and it was completely sustainable.’

For more visit www.positivechangeformarinelife.org.

[image] Positive Change for Marine Life founder Karl Goodsell believes that the only way to save marine life is to work with people rather than against them.


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