Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Australia - WTF?

Patric is right.
If you are a Shark, take a left in Sydney and get the hell outta there!

We've blogged at length about the appalling decision by the NSW minister for primary industries Katrina Hodgkinson to lift the fishing ban at the Grey Nurse aggregation sites Fish Rock and Green Island which are still enumerated in the Ministry's pamphlet but now acutely threatened.
The submission period (this one is excellent - read it!) has closed on August 26th - and what has happened since? So far, I hear, nada de nada de nada, meaning that the Ministry has given no feedback whatsoever and that the sites are still open for fishing.
Sadly, I'm not at all surprised.

Then, much like in SA, there's the shark nets and drumlines.
They are hopelessly antiquated and ecologically unsustainable (and here) and in other countries, they have been widely replaced by equally effective modern beach safety techniques. But when the public continues to advocate culling "rogue" Sharks after somebody gets attacked, rolling back those perceived protective measures may be politically impossible. Read this excellent feature from the Save our Seas Foundation on the problems of coexisting with Sharks and the various measures implemented - an here's a good one about Shark nets in Oz.
Incidentally, I was particularly appalled by this article. In it, one Terry Peake has the audacity to make the following statements.

“There’s a lot of ‘green money’ tied up in shark research.
Certain organisations are given money to protect something, so they do whatever it takes to say they’re protecting it, then at the end of tenure they present facts saying protection must continue so they receive more grants,”

As fishing stocks deplete, sharks are starting to adapt their food sources.
“Sharks need food with a high fat content and in the past humans wouldn’t provide that. However they’re getting desperate. Now we’re hearing stories about people completely disappearing, not just being bitten. It’s not a case of mistaken identity anymore, sharks are adapting out of necessity.”

Yes, this would be totally Vic Hyslop redux!
Shocking - but then again, maybe not so much. One could put it away as the ramblings of merely yet another unhinged Shark hating lunatic, were Terry not the Australian investigator of the GSAF, a bogus Shark Attack database closely affiliated with the equally bogus Shark Research Institute, the home base of other luminaries like Ritter, Collier and Amos - and I spare you the links to posts on this blog, the more as you can search for them yourself!
I say, quousque tandem - and Jupp, should you read this, get the hell outta there - ehrlich, in Freundschaft!

But I'm digressing as always.
Back to the Ozzie Shark fiasco and we find the Queensland East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery ECIFFF that is taking 600 tons (or maybe more) of Sharks from the GBR Marine Park each year.
Yes read that again - from a Word Heritage Area!

I mean, seriously!
It has been known for years that any such fishery is completely unsustainable and that reef Sharks in the GBR are in big trouble - last confirmed by this open source paper as recently as last month.
And now, Fisheries Queensland has made a submission to have this abomination declared an approved Wildlife Trade Operation, this based on a rather problematic (!) report and this in diametrical contrast to the aspirations of the dive industry.
And the Federal Government is asking for comments.

Enter Madi Pip Stewart.
I must say, I am increasingly impressed by this very young underwater cinematographer, by her passion, by her product, by her outreach, by the quality of her statements. Anyway, you want to check out her blog where you will find a template for a comments letter and also, an assessment of Elasmobranchs caught in the GBR. Once again, very impressive indeed!
The consultation period closes on October 21 - and alas, I once again fear that the end result will not be in favor of Sharks, Pip passion or no Pip passion!

But the conservation fiasco not only limited to Australia's Sharks.
South Australia and NSW are bowing to the pressure by the anglers and other ocean recreationists and re-zoning their marine parks.

Furthermore, the Commonwealth is completely ignoring unanimous scientific advice, and that of the community, when defining its marine parks in the South West Bioregion that features an exceptionally high concentration of iconic marine species, many of which are endemic and can thus be found nowhere else on the planet. And worse than that, it is now actively muzzling and censoring dissenting researchers, Texas style.
Bravo to Corey for speaking up - and having talked to a few friends, it is exactly like he says!

So, WTF is going on?
Ever since the fratricide of Rudd and the subsequent botched elections, the Labour-led government there has been nothing but an appalling joke whereby anything and anybody, let alone useless baggage like ideals and principles are being sacrificed on the altar of self serving political survival - and yes I'm trying to be polite!
Gone are the days where Australia was a shining beacon of visionary conservation, gone the days where it could lecture the Pacific Island States who are now showing Big Brother the way forward.

Alas, short term, I am rather skeptical.
The political trend appears to be pointing towards a shift to the right where Big Mining and Big Oil are calling the shots - and obviously, those entities could not care less about Australia's ecosystem, marine and otherwise. But as long as there are young passionate people like Madi, there is hope, at least in the long term.

Fingers crossed!


Anonymous said...

yo- Madi pip here :) i have allot more 'fighting back' occurring with our government in the final stages before this legal shark fishing comes under review in fEB 2012, soon i will have all the addresses and a new letter to send- put pressure on the government, that is the key right now! :)http://elements5.blogspot.com/

DaShark said...

Keep up the good fight!

And, let us know whether/how we can assist - we're all in this together!