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 surfrider.org.au
Dr Rex Campbell 0423 889 899
Brendan Donohoe 0422 900 501
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