Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New South Wales - WTF?

Are we in for more of this shit? Source.

Remember that horrible woman, Katrina Hodgkinson?
The one that stripped the NSW Grey Nurse Sharks of their protection, only to have to back-track in the face of overwhelming condemnation of her reckless actions?

Well, she's at it again.
Whilst Australia shines with its new network of Marine Parks, Hodgkinson is continuing to pander to the Fishers and Shooters Party and opening the marine parks of NSW to the recreational anglers - this all very much unsurprisingly and very much anticipated, and once again prematurely and unilaterally without even waiting for the recommendations by her newly appointed panel. This follows NSW's Premier O'Farrell's controversial decision to open NSW's national parks to recreational shooters.
Story here.

The question being,
will this reckless stupidity encompass the GNS aggregation sites and once again endanger their survival?

Keep watching this space!


Megalobomb said...

I really do hate to be a Debbie Downer, but what exactly do these marine protected areas "protect"? They are all flanked by the 49 shark nets along the NSW coast (Krough & Reid 1996) which incidentally catch and kill grey nurse sharks, fiddler rays, yellowfin and bluefin tuna, kingfish, jewfish, some of those mean sharks, turtles, dugongs, a few whale calves...etc. Is there anything left to fish in these MPAs anyway?

DaShark said...

Knock yerself out Megalobomb! :)

Look, that's really apples & oranges.

I hope you agree that no-take MPAs work in preserving biodiversity and that any weakening of those protection measures is bad - yes?

The nets are of course archaic and the bycatch is highly deplorable - but having said that, I really doubt that their effect, disturbing as it may be, really impinges on biodiversity let alone the survival of any species.

The NSW coastline is 2,000+ km long so 49 nets cannot be of such consequence.
Dunno whether they really all directly flank those MPAs - but even if so, it's a shame but hardly an ecological catastrophe.

But of course most, if not all should go and be replaced by more modern measures, like Shark spotter programs, exclusion nets for swimming beaches, early warning systems, etc.

Megalobomb said...

Apples and oranges may be different, but if you throw them both into the ocean they become interlinked! :-)

I am troubled that I can't find any more publications since the 1996 one on bycatch in NSW nets. This could be because 1) I haven't spent enough time searching (admittedly), 2) There is so much bycatch no one wants to publish it, or 3) There is so little being caught it's not worth talking about (so where did it go??).

If the 49 nets were put in areas without much biodiversity then of course they wouldn't be ecologically catastrophic, but that's not how the areas were chosen. Shark nets were installed because of the presence of sharks, so these areas are indeed biodiverse enough to support top predators - or were.

Of course no-take MPAs are great ideas and there are certainly more areas in the world that deserve their protection, however very few MPAs have actually conducted biodiversity surveys to see if they are effective. I would love to see some BRUV work (like what's being done in SA by Lauren De Vos) in those shark-net flanked MPAs to measure any effects, funding anyone???? :)

DaShark said...

BRUVS in Oz e.g. here - I trust you know how to get in touch with them?

I see that you are from SA and understand why you may be specially interested in those nets.

But in terms of conservation priorities, they appear really rather irrelevant when compared to the real nets (and lines, and destructive practices etc), i.e. those of the commercial fishermen.

I know that some people are really passionate about this topic, and of course understand why - but me, not that much.