Posts in Environment

Surfrider Foundation Slams Abbott Plan to Ban Future Marine Parks

Posted on July 28th, 2010 in Environment, Top stories.

The peak coastal organisation Surfrider Foundation Australia has come out strongly against Tony Abbott’s sudden ban on new marine parks and has accused him of “eco vandalism” and “dog-fish-whistling”.

“The claim that marine parks harm tourism and fishing is totally untrue and irresponsible,” said the Chairman of the Surfrider Foundation Australia Board Dr Rex Campbell.

“Fishing and fish stocks improve greatly near areas where marine parks and sanctuaries have been created.”

“While Mr Abbott was filleting the 4kg Barramundi yesterday, I had to ask myself, was he fish-mongering or scare-mongering?” said Dr. Campbell. “Plus I wondered if the barramundi got to be 4kg only because it grew up in a protected sanctuary?”.

Surfrider Foundation is calling on all political parties to proclaim more marine sanctuaries, not less, to ensure protection against overfishing, oil spills, shipping hazards, whaling, offshore pollution and to grow tourism.

It would appear that Mr Abbott is purposefully blurring the line between marine parks and No Take zones, which typically are a small percentage of any marine park. Marine parks themselves constitute a miniscule amount of Australia’s nearly 36,000 kilometers mainland coastline and the 24,000 kilometers of island coastline.

Marine parks are multiple-use, meaning that a wide range of activities, including fishing, are allowed in many areas.

Marine sanctuaries are smaller areas within the marine park and are no-take, meaning that fishing and extractive activities such as oil drilling, is not allowed.

“The fishing industry scare campaign surrounding marine parks has been very successful, but the facts do not back up the fears. Marine sanctuaries actually help tourism and help recreational fishing.”

“I was heavily into fishing and diving long before I rode my first wave”, says Surfrider Foundation Australia Director Gene Hardy.
“I’ve recently been holidaying in an area within the iconic Ningaloo Marine Park, and enjoyed incredible fishing near large marine sanctuary areas.”

“It’s a simple concept, preserve some reasonably large areas as breeding / conservation areas and you are going to get spill over into your mixed fishing zones.”

“It’s not about stopping people fishing – sanctuaries work.”

“In fact the last thing anybody wants, especially serious fisherman, is to decimate our fish stocks so that no one can go fishing.”

“I want my daughter’s children to be able to catch their dinner the same way I have.” Said Mr Hardy.

“Surfrider Foundation fights for a clean oceans, not “cleaned out” oceans and calls on the Coalition to review this policy as this proposition simply will not stand up. Where these things are in place, coastal communities do well.” said Dr Campbell.

Find out more about Surfrider at

Media contact:

Dr Rex Campbell 0423 889 899
Brendan Donohoe 0422 900 501
[email protected]

More Information:

Marine parks are multiple-use, meaning that a wide range of activities, including fishing, are allowed in many areas. Marine sanctuaries are smaller areas within the marine park and are no-take, meaning that fishing and extractive activities such as oil drilling, is not allowed. They protect fish stocks and provide safe breeding grounds for fish and other species. Spillover from these sanctuary zones enables sustainable fisheries and allows for fishers to come back year after year and catch their quotas. Sanctuaries become an ‘engine room’ for fish production. One recent study shows that one large female dhufish of 98cm was capable of producing the equivalent number of eggs as 11 60cm dhufish. (StJohn, 2009).

Ningaloo Marine Park in North Western Australia is an example of a marine park. 34% or 88,365 acres are made up of sanctuary zones. The remaining 66% is made up of general use, recreation, and special purpose zones. Recreational fishing is allowed in all of those areas. Rottnest Island off of Perth hosts a successful marine park and the one of the sanctuary zones (Kingston Reef) have 50x more legal lobsters and 100x higher egg production (Babcock et al., 2007).

Babcock, R.C., Phillips, J.C., Lourey, M., Clapin, G. Increased density, biomass and egg production in an unfished population of Western Rock Lobster (Panulirus cygnus) at Rottnest Island, Western Australia. CSIRO Marine Research, Private Bag No. 5, Wembley 6913 WA, Australia

R. Lenanton, J. StJohn*, I. Keay, C. Wakefield, G. Jackson, B. Wise and D. Gaughan Spatial scales of exploitation among populations of demersal scalefish: implications for management. Part 2: Stock structure and biology of two indicator species, West Australian dhufish (Glaucosoma hebraicum) and pink snapper (Pagrus auratus), in the West Coast Bioregion Final FRDC Report – Project 2003/052

Hawaiians celebrate historic shark fin ban

Posted on July 27th, 2010 in Environment, Top stories.

Animal advocates celebrate historic shark fin ban

Posted: Jul 01, 2010 2:52 PM Updated: Jul 01, 2010 3:59 PM

By Tim Sakahara – bio | email

On July 1 Hawaii will become the first government in the world to ban the possession, distribution and sale of shark fins and it’s already sending ripples to the rest of the world.

The law means restaurants won’t be able to serve shark fin soup, but the impact goes well beyond what’s on a Chinese food menu.

From predator to protected, the new state law is aimed at preventing shark finning a process where fisherman slice the fins then throw the animal back into the ocean to die.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s no different than killing an elephant for its tusks or dehorning a rhinoceros for its horn. These are cruel and inhumane practices that have no business in a civilized world,” said State Senator Clayton Hee, (D) Kahuku, Laie, Kaneohe.

State Senator Hee, along with many animal advocates, reeled in the votes to make it illegal to have shark fins.

“It has sent a message that it can get done,” said Sen. Hee.

“This is the first in the world. I don’t how many times Hawaii has led the world but today it’s leading the world and that’s something to be proud of,” said Peter Knights, WildAid Executive Director. “Today is a happy occasion and sharks don’t get many happy occasions.”

via Animal advocates celebrate historic shark fin ban – Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL Home.

The Plastiki Expedition closing on Sydney

Posted on July 15th, 2010 in Environment, Top stories.

The Plastiki is sailing toward Sydney, having crossed most of the Pacific ocean in a campaign to raise awareness of ocean pollution – particularly of the plastic kind. Most of the boat’s displacement comes from 12,000 empty plastic drink bottles (or roughly how many are consumed across the USA in 1/3 of a second!).

Here’s an excerpt from the latest entry in their online blog

We’re currently experiencing a different side of the ocean than what we’ve grown so accustomed to in the previous 6,700 miles. We seem to have ventured into the land of 60 knot winds and 25 foot waves

via HUGS AND WAVES « The Plastiki Expedition.

International Surfing Day – Sunday 20th June

Posted on June 16th, 2010 in Can you help?, Environment, Good causes, Manly, Top stories.

This Sunday 20th June is International Surfing Day. To mark the occasion, the Northern Beaches Branch of the Surfrider Foundation will be undertaking a Beach Clean at Manly (South Steyne) commencing at 8:30am for around 2 hours. If you want to give something back to the coastal environment you are invited to come and join us on Sunday morning and meet the crew. The more the merrier!

International Surfing Day – Sunday 20th June

Where: Manly Ocean Day (meet in front of the corso)
When: Sunday 20th June, 8:30-10:30am
How: Please bring gloves, water and a good attitude!

Should you require more info please contact Andy on andy[at]oceanwatch[dot]org[dot]au

This event is run in collaboration with EcoDivers and Tangaroa Blue.

Sydney swamped: sewage alert to surfers

Posted on June 4th, 2010 in Environment, Health & Fitness, News Flash, Top stories.

Authorities are warning swimmers and surfers to stay away from Sydney's beaches due to high pollution levels caused by heavy rain, warns an article on the SMH site. It continues:

The rain over the past week has also forced some sewage plants into a partial bypass system, whereby some sewage is running into the ocean untreated.

A NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water spokeswoman said that authorities were recommending swimmers to avoid beaches over the next few days.

“[The] Beachwatch Program has recorded elevated levels of enterococci, a bacteria used to indicate the presence of sewage contamination, at many of Sydney’s ocean and harbour beaches following the heavy rainfall in recent weeks,” she said.

“The elevated enterococci levels are the result of stormwater discharges, sewage overflows and bypasses from coastal sewage treatment plants due to heavy rains.”

Having previously given a list of safe beaches at which to swim, the spokeswoman has updated her advice to say that no beaches were now considered safe.

With more heavy rain expected to fall across Sydney over the weekend, beach conditions are not expected to improve.

via Sydney swamped: sewage alert to surfers.

Causes: Peter Cundall “Florentine – worth more standing”

Posted on May 25th, 2010 in Environment, Good causes, Top stories.

Peter Cundall coming to Sydney on Saturday 29 May 2010!

Peter Cundall, Australia’s favourite gardener, is coming to Sydney to carry on his fight to save the Upper Florentine Valley in Tasmania from logging. Though better known as the host of the ABC’s Gardening Australia television program and a newspaper columnist about gardening across the country, Peter has had a life long passion for the environment that is now being translated into direct action to protect old growth forest. Currently on trial in Tasmania for his actions to protect the forest, Peter is talking some time off to come up to Sydney to talk to us about this issue.

The area of old growth forest under threat of destruction is the upper Florentine Valley. This beautiful forest was mooted for World heritage listing such is its environmental value. Instead, logging operations have now started pushing roads through the forest preparing for its destruction.

Peter states that “The basic driving force behind the mindless destruction of our most beautiful, ancient forests is nothing more than uncontrolled greed. The corporations profiting from this cynical, wholesale carnage have no thought for the future and are concerned only with trying to make as much money as possible in the shortest possible time. We can and will stop them. We have no choice but to keep fighting for our most precious places and the astonishing balance of living things which is a true, ecologically-intact wilderness.”

Peter will speak at the “Florentine – Worth more Standing” fundraising evening at Forestville Memorial Hall this coming Saturday 29th May from 6.30 to 10.30 pm. The evening will feature gourmet finger food; silent and life auctions of items donated for the event and live music. Entry costs $60/$40 (concession). Bookings are through Dr Conny Harris on 0432 643 295.

The evening will also support a local northern beaches group – “Spot-a-Shark” – who are tracking the critically endangered Grey Nurse sharks along the New South Wales coast using the shark’s individually unique skin markings.

So don’t miss your chance to come along and hear Peter Cundall and help save this beautiful valley from destruction.

Peter is available for interview prior to the evening. Please contact Conny Harris on 0432 643 295 to arrange this.

Warmest April Global Temps on Record, NOAA says

Posted on May 18th, 2010 in Environment, Top stories.

It’s not just you.

Sydney’s extraordinary late season warm water temperatures may not just be a fluke of the east coast currents. According to NOAA, the planet has just experienced the warmest April and January to April period since recordings began.

If you have a look at the graphic below, you’ll note that the SE coast of Oz is well above the norm, but so too is most of the Tasman Sea.

Warmest April Global Temperature on Record, NOAA SaysScienceDaily May 17, 2010 — The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for both April and for the period from January-April, according to NOAA. Additionally, last month's average ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for any April, and the global land surface temperature was the third warmest on record.

via Warmest April Global Temperature on Record, NOAA says.

Surfrider Northern Beaches beach cleanup Saturday arvo

Posted on March 19th, 2010 in Environment.

surfrider foundation beach clean up at Fishermans Beach Collaroy
Surfrider Northern Beaches will be combing Fishermans Beach at Collaroy Basin for rubbish this Saturday 20 March 2010 from 3pm to 5pm.

The clean up is part of the Tangaroa Blue global project to identify marine debris distribution and origins. So we’ll be working in teams to pre-sort the rubbish we find for our rubbish counter/weighers. The more hands we have, the better.

So go clean up on the waves, then come and clean up on the beaches!


Surfrider Northern Beaches
Tangaroa Blue

Shark Attacks vs. Victim’s Activity

Posted on March 6th, 2010 in Environment, Top stories.

Guess who’s been chomped most frequently by our finny friends? Divers? Swimmers? Surfers?

The charts from  the International Shark Attack File tell the story…

Shark Attacks vs. Victim’s Activity.

From Shark attacks in perspective
Shark attack did not become a subject of particular public interest until the twentieth century. Several factors have contributed to the upswing in public awareness of shark attack during the last sixty years. First and foremost has been the evolution of the press from a parochial to a cosmopolitan news-gathering system that covers a larger portion of the world in a more rapid and comprehensive manner. Increased competition and a shift of journalistic values in certain quarters additionally has contributed to more active searches for “shock” stories, i.e. those that titillate the public and promote sales. Needless to say, an examination of current weekly tabloids confirms that “shark eats man” is a best-selling story line.

We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change: Al Gore

Posted on February 28th, 2010 in Environment.

You mean scrunching our eyes shut, blocking our ears and shouting “it’s not happening, it’s not happening!” may not work? Great editorial from the New York Times site by Al Gore.

We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change


Published: February 27, 2010

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.

But what a burden would be lifted! We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.

via Op-Ed Contributor – We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change –