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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Marine zone science is sound

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It was recently reported that the National Party state members Andrew Stoner and Chris Gulaptis supported the opening of no-take sanctuary zones in our marine parks to fishing.

The decision has been justified by the claim that the independent scientific committee reviewing zoning in our marine parks had said that the science supporting those declarations was flawed. This is not true.

Both the scientific committee’s report and the executive government’s response, released in March, stated the science was good and was followed in developing the zoning plans for our marine parks.

Keep in mind the review was carried out by the minister’s chosen panel of experts, whose appointment was given the blessings of the Shooters and Fishers, not some greenie/socialist conspiracy.

The executive’s formal response, however, included specific reference to other non-scientific considerations that would have to influence their decisions. Perhaps a reasonable position as the science of resource management is but a small part of any political decision.

The reports back from those illegally fishing in the no take zones may be that the quality and quantity of fish in the no take zones is beyond expectations, in short the science is good.

Some might see such fecund displays as a waste of good fish but it would only be a couple of years of open slather for that legacy to be consumed.

Only the politicians could see the good in a return to the bad old days: dwindling stocks, failing businesses, a degraded environment, no management and commercial and recreational fishing fighting over the scraps. In short too many fishing, not enough fish.

Serge Killingbeck, South Ballina


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