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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Marine park science

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Vicky Baker, Toorbul QLD

In response to Serge Killingbeck’s letter of June 3 on marine parks.

Mr Killingbeck, the science was flawed and just about non-existent. Dubious computer modelling which, like a statistic, can be open to all sorts of interpretation to support a desired outcome. There have been very few assessments done regarding the effectiveness of marine parks in protecting bio-diversity. A study, which has been prepared in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park by employees or grant recipients of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), has been peer reviewed but over 40 discrepancies were found.

Your comment regarding the ‘minister’s chosen panel’ and ‘some greenie/socialist conspiracy’ appears to be what the decisions regarding the marine parks seems to be based on and guided by.

As for the reports from those illegally fishing in the no take zones, which appears to be what you think the current science is based on, where are they and what areas do they refer to? Exactly how did you come by this data and how reliable is it?

Highly emotive words like open slather and bad old days allude to something that never was as Australian waters have never been over-fished to the extent that any species have become extinct. In fact, if commercial fishers weren’t looking after the environment, ensuring future fishing stocks, there would never have been any fishing families operating for generations.

Regarding business failures, they usually follow marine park implementations and government policy of reducing commercially fishing families, to the detriment of their local communities and associated businesses.

As for dwindling stocks, I dispute that hoary old chestnut beloved of the green groups as Australia has the third largest Exclusive Economic Zone yet our wild-caught harvest has been restricted to the world’s lowest harvest rate. All of our fisheries are highly managed to the extent that they are being strangled with red/green tape, management costs and the loss of prime marine food resource areas for reallocation from the public to the private sector and marine parks.

Degraded environments come from coastal, riverine and marine developments as well as outside influences like cyclones, floods etc, not fishing. Poor numbers or diseased stock can actually pinpoint an environmental problem, but usually the messenger gets the blame.

There has been no determination of what threats commercial and recreational fishing, as currently managed by relevant governments, actually pose to the marine environment. The marine communities upon which our fisheries are based are not fragile and delicate but rather vigorous and flexible ones that readily recover from relatively frequent natural adversities. Management by theory without widespread and continuing evaluations of actual conditions and results is a disastrous recipe for all fishers and their communities.


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1 COMMENT

  1. I was there in the late ’80’s when, with many others, my father was part of a group of commercial fishers who appealed to NSW Fisheries to manage NSW Fisheries more closely, a request that was refused.
    Things did change slowly and the marine parks came but well after that. And yes, with no marine parks there would not have been the buy outs and many commercial fishing businesses would still exist, holding licences to go broke as our fisheries went the same way as the rest of the planet’s because of government inaction. The super trawler came here because there’s nowhere else for them to go, and we want to join that club?
    It was not lost on me that in the adjustment process it was the rec fishing lobby that opposed fair compensation most vehemently, even after conservation groups agreed that when taking away someone’s living they are entitled to fair compensation, a position I maintain and argue for to this day. Well that’s what happened in NSW anyway and you don’t have to believe me, that’s your right but I was there with skin in the game.
    I read both the independent scientific committee’s report and the executive government’s response, the science is solid – according to them not me. The reports are a much more authoritative source than Mr Brown’s press releases.
    I got involved in marine conservation because of what was happening to commercial fishing. No one yet has proved to me my decision was the wrong one. I concede I’ve won no friends on any side because I never allowed ideology to get in the way of my passion to leave things better than I found them and acting on the evidence not the shaking fist of an ideologue: red, green, blue or purple.

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