wazatherfisherman

Marine Park Concerns

Recommended Posts

 The following is a copy of my submission about my marine park concerns.   Raiders- Please feel free to use any part of this that may help with your submissions

 I feel it necessary to voice my concerns of the proposed new marine park, particularly in the Sydney region, As a disabled user of many of the areas included in the proposal, I have a variety of issues in relation to the actual changes/proposed restrictions being considered.

Firstly, after close scrutiny of the DPI provided information, I understand that several of the proposed areas will have a direct impact on my activities.  In fact they will "lock me out" of continuing to enjoy the areas, something I have done for over 45 years. For me, personally, the areas of Chowder Head, Camp Cove, Nielsen Park and the Bondi to Coogee stretch of coastline have been my regular haunts for both fishing and diving. Under the new 'proposals' line fishing will be banned from these locations. Why? My own belief is an underlying movement of a political nature, greater than a genuine environmental concern. This is based on my own experiences and regular use of the above mentioned areas. As an example, I will relate my long-term knowledge of the Chowder Head area.

 After fishing and diving the area for over 45 years on a regular basis (roughly 5-6 times almost every month for this time) I would like it noted that this entire area is neither overfished or at any genuine risk from any recreational fishing. This opinion is based on regular use and genuine observation over this entire time period, not on any "occasional" visits by anyone engaged in "research", whether that be of an opinion for or against the proposal. Throughout this period, my own fishing records indicate only minimal decline in demersal species, which can be genuinely attributed to factors other than "over use" of the resource.

 Cyclic seasonal weather patterns such as "el nino" and "la nina", variable rainfall and changing water temperatures are examples of varying climatic differentials which allude to seasonal variances in the localised distribution of species, both marine and on land. This equates to some years being better than others, in a similar way to land produce, such as seasonal fruits or crops being more abundant or better quality, from year to year. Similarly, some years one species is more dominant than others, but this is generally of a cyclic nature in line with natural abundance and scarcity.

 In several marine species such as Yellowtail Kingfish, Australian Salmon, Rock Blackfish, Leatherjackets and Luderick, the actual catch rate for recreational fishers has continued to improve. Certainly my own catch rates for all these species have increased, through a combination of advancing fishing technology, better resource management (both mine and the DPI's) and the reduction of commercial fishing for both fin fish and prawns. The resulting of a better managed fishery and a cessation of commercial fishing within the estuary and near-shore fishery, accompanied by factors such as the banning of Kingfish trapping is a relevant example. DPI marine biologists have also confirmed the increasing numbers of Sydney Harbour Prawns, which were reportedly on the verge of extinction due to both overfishing (commercial) and habitat destruction/degradation.

 It simply doesn't 'verify' the statistics of a declining fishery, put at 'further risk' by the recreational users of the area, taking also into consideration, both the seasonal availability and migratory movements of 'popular' recreational targeted species, including natural breeding cycles. Fish move! Protecting a species while it dwells in a particular area does little to preserve the integrity of stocks. Bag and size limits were formulated for this very purpose and are subject to variation in accordance with the changing density of fish populations.

 In relation to Chowder Head area usage, even on a nice summer day there are usually less than about 40 people engaged in 'marine-related' activity along the shoreline, probably less than half of these actually engaged in fishing. Rarely are 'bag-limits' of any one species achieved by any fishers and virtually never of two or more species. This is a regulated recreation (fishing) with participants licensed and governed by strict criteria in relation to species allowed, size limits and catch numbers (bag limits) the majority of the group being responsible participants, many of whom practice sustainable methods such as using 'circle' hooks (for lip hooking fish only), environmentally friendly nets for careful landing of fish intended for release and catch-and-release-only fishing. I understand as a diver that we are not regulated in the same way, nor need a license to participate in our chosen recreation. This may seem a little unfair to fishers, however this is the current status quo.

 Another major concern is the almost certain degradation of  existing areas due to the inevitable excessive use, which will be preordained by leaving a much greater number of users to share any minimised area. To contribute to this inevitable depletion of remaining areas would seem to be in direct opposition to the original principles of the basis for the park, to preserve and protect existing species. Undoubtedly, after this happens, more areas will be added to existing park boundaries under the banner of "localised decimation" or similar. This would lead to an eventual mass "no-go" zone. This of course would cause more of an affront to users rights and freedoms, not to mention the actual decimation /depletion of already established species, which seems to be of little genuine concern to the parks supporters. Surely removing the rights of an established "chosen" user group, or restricting said group to any regulation, whilst enjoying the same resource as others, is unconstitutional and not in line with Australian existing equal opportunity principles.

 A similar vein applies to "Protecting the Aboriginal Cultural Values of the Marine Estate"- Most Australians would have fishing related memories somewhere in their heritage, my own for example are memories of great family gatherings, where young and old would join in fishing and prawning activities, then enjoy a meal of the haul as a great family unit. Why would this not be considered as a cultural value? It certainly is to me and I have no Aboriginal blood. Don't the same values extend to all Australians? I believe everyone should be equal under the one banner for any proposal.

 The next consideration applies to personal health. Many waterways users initiate their chosen recreation for mental health reasons, for example, as an 'escape' from the regular stresses and anxieties of normal life. Many in fact, care little in relation to the act of actually catching a fish, it's more about having something 'purposeful' to do while in close proximity to the water, particularly the ocean, with it's "calming effect". Post traumatic stress disorder sufferers are a prime example of a group that benefits from the proven therapeutic relaxation derived from fishing and oceanic pursuits. Simply, adjacent to the water is of great benefit to many, whether fishing, or otherwise.

 This theme extends further due to "localised considerations" in local government areas. There are multiple examples of this. An example is the restriction of the remaining available areas in relation to agreed usage time frames with consideration to both noise and parking. Examples would be public wharf usage hours at different localities. Using Cremorne Ferry Wharf as the example, fishing is only permitted during certain hours due to "noise concerns". Another example is "occupation of parkland"- many areas are closed to the public during night hours, Darling Point is an example of this. The actual shoreline of Sydney Harbour which is governed by National Parks and Wildlife Service also has "available user hours" -many of these are currently not heavily enforced, although parking areas and roads are susceptible to closure. It would seem logical that through increasing user pressure due to less available user area, that considerations may change from sheer higher volume use, creating even further restrictions and reduced user privileges. To say this is unlikely, would not fit in with the normal growth expectations of any activity, when considering 'actual space' and area per individual user multiplied by the increased number of users. To this consideration the needs of those who are only able to fish of a night time, due to working in regular daytime employment , must also be considered. Taking into account, area usage hours and closures, this group would be heavily discriminated against.

 In regards to actual area, figures stating the length of shoreline (actual) within Sydney Harbour, fail to take into account the following factors. Waterfront property (private) National Park parkland, marinas, jetties, wharves, pontoons, swimming pools and baths plus the said use of restricted local government parkland during certain hours. Add to this "marine high traffic areas, restricted areas, existing aquatic reserves, no stopping areas for vessels, Naval Waters and the largest area "fish refuge zones"- which includes all of the harbour west of Sydney Harbour Bridge, which has been ratified by the government as "no-take" zones due to alarming dioxin levels present.

These factors reveal an already minimised user area. Then also the considerations of  "viability" - actual realistic user opportunity in relation to species presence and abundance. Also not forgetting shallows and also sea-grass areas as non-productive grounds and preferred fish nurseries.

 Next consideration is related to safety of user groups in relation to reduced available location. For this example I refer to the Bondi-to-Coogee and Cape Banks proposition. As there are a great many people already using these areas to engage in both diving and fishing activities, any closure or reduction in area will undoubtedly send participants to remaining useable locations, many of which are considered extremely dangerous to both use and access. The NSW Government has already introduced a campaign promoting safer rock fishing including the mandatory wearing of life jackets. This is in relation to the tragic number of rock fishing related drownings. The data supporting this has already been tabled and enforcement of the regulations is now taking place via issuing fines for non compliance. As much of Sydney's coastline is backed by towering cliffs which extend down to waterline rock platforms, access to many of these is considered extremely dangerous. However, due to lack of other suitable location, many will venture to areas that they have previously stayed away from. People cannot be expected to simply abandon their pastimes and activities, as these are their "passions".

 This will certainly result in more fatalities by "misadventure" or otherwise. Even the most experienced are susceptible to unsafe locations.

 Also to be considered are the many small boat owners and club members of aquatic pursuits, particularly fishers, that currently frequent the safer inshore grounds. Many of this group would be put in jeopardy by having to travel the proposed much longer distance offshore or away from proposed areas. This should be of great concern to all. Groups such as Gordon's Bay Amateur fishing club would likely be wiped out due to their locality- right in the middle of the closure area, even though the bay itself has been an aquatic reserve and fish sanctuary for many years. Where is the fairness in this and what is the basis for extending so far offshore? 

 Where are Sydney's estimated 100,000 fishers expected to go to pursue their chosen leisure?- To overcrowded, unsafe or unproductive areas? Within time constraints organised by others? These questions will all lead to social problems, which are also in contrast to the goals of the proposal.

 This then leads to the actual initiatives.

 How does the locking out of recreational users of these areas improve water quality? One would expect water 'run-off' would be a genuine contributor to quality, therefore to address that condition should be a greater priority. It does not seem realistic to include casual visitors to an area in "improving" water quality.

 Same for "Developing Healthy Coastal Habitats with Sustainable use and Development"- What is the definition of "sustainable use"? Does this mean minimising use of these areas? If so, what then is the consideration and definition of "development"? As an example of this, the areas of Camp Cove, Nielsen Park and Chowder Head are both past and present extremely popular diving locations which provide a vast array of species for observation. As line fishing is extremely low-impact in these locations by sheer lack of participants on any given day (which is demonstrated by species abundance, hence the drawcard for divers)- why then are these areas being considered to lock out any one user group? 

 The use of the word "development" is also extremely concerning. How can "development" be applied to areas suggested for "preservation"? Are there intentions looking towards the construction of "facilities" for the areas? Do other groups have "designs" that are yet to be tabled on the use of any of these places? Without proposing sinister overtones (in relation to the definition of any reserves) why have these areas been nominated over other 'suitable' area/s? 

 Next on the list of initiatives is "Planning for Climate Change"- another genuine "grey-area" scientifically, as there is no hard and fast formula that can be agreed upon with any certainty. Scientists are of many, many varying opinions. Taking this into consideration, one would be interested to see the thinking behind locking groups out in relation to climate change.

 Reducing impacts on threatened and protective species is a genuinely important consideration. Firstly, what are the threatened species and where do they dwell? How does recreational use of the area impact these species? What actual strategy will be employed and with what goal? Is this the only place these creatures live? Are other methods of conservation being considered other than closing recreational access? Who has deemed these populations as endangered/jeopardised and based on what empirical data? Are there greater benefits to the community from taking this type (any) form of action? 

 As a genuine conservationist I find myself considering all these concerns with an open mind and wonder if the goals and initiatives of the proposal are the best possible solution to the preservation concept. I also fail to see how fishers, who are not "invading" the underwater environment with little more than either a food or food imitation offering, are being anywhere near as invasive as others, who are in fact more of a foreign entity, simply by their presence in the water.

 As a recreational fisher and diver, I am happy to follow the regulations that accompany the pursuit of the activities. The DPI has formulated these rules based on the best outcomes for both users and the environment. They are subject to change, again, based on the changing environmental climate. Recent examples of this are changes to both size and bag limit for Mulloway. This has come as a result of both population monitoring and noted breeding and survival/mortality rates of the species. This type of decision, although disappointing to some, was at least based on a long-term viability study and doesn't exclude the taking of the highly sought after species , nor closing down access to their habitat.

 Size and bag limits are the best regulatory mechanism for management of fisheries. As mentioned previously, they are subject to change, based on need. They are also more readily acceptable to the broader community as they are the guidelines for all involved parties. 

 My own personal observation of other fishers, over the long-term, has displayed to me that the greater majority are both law abiding and responsibly active in adhering to the rules. It could be said that responsible fishers are almost the "guardians" of their own domain. If they aren't, who else would fulfil that role? 

 As far as ensuring sustainable fishing and aquaculture, other proposals need to be considered also, such as better investment in re-stocking or breeding, more frequent reviews of size and bag limits and possible closed season/no take periods that coincide with fish reproductive cycles. A good example of the successful introduction of such measures exists in Victoria, where after close monitoring of the Snapper fishery, a closed season was introduced. The results have shown this to be a tremendous success, with the fishery now thriving.  Bag limits now allow anglers to retain 10 Snapper each. There is no reason that similar tactics would not have a similar result here and this would have widespread community support. After all, fishers more than anyone else, want their activities to remain both viable and productive. It would make absolutely no sense to think otherwise.

 Ensuring safe and sustainable boating is also an identified initiative- there is genuinely not a great correlation between this condition and the banning of line fishing in marine park proposals, in fact it would seem to be illegal to traverse these areas in possession of fishing tackle. Kayak users for example, who have grown greatly in number, and have little storage area on their vessels, would be at odds with the regulatory requirements should they wish to travel through these areas. To avoid "high traffic areas" and shipping routes, this user group would be placed in needless jeopardy, by simply trying to stay within the guidelines of "stowed fishing equipment" within marine sanctuary zones. Sydney Harbour has one of the most active waterways in the southern hemisphere during summer, particularly the Christmas/New Year/Australia Day periods. The waterway is already well trafficked and managed, to suggest otherwise is incorrect.

 Another of the initiatives is to "enhance social, cultural and economic benefits". The very definition of "enhance" is to boost, upgrade, supplement, raise and increase existing conditions. This is also not possible by reducing, limiting and restricting any established family, community, individual or organisation. Taking away the "user privileges" of a "chosen section" enhances nothing and is an affront to the Australian way of life. Supporters of the proposal could be seen as ignoring the basic rights of their opposition and placing no value or acknowledgement on the "sociality" of fishers, who are united by a common thread. For many people, getting together with friends or unknowns, has become an integral part of our heritage and should never be denied. To attempt to "crowd" participants together, has already been addressed previously. The population is increasing, therefore usable area is diminishing, A more realistic view might be to consider the opening of currently inaccessible areas, such as "Naval Waters" and review current aquatic arrangements, including established marine parks and sanctuary zones. 

 Another key consideration that needs to be addressed is the enormous investment that has already been made by groups, individuals and the community at large. This investment comes in a variety of ways. Firstly, there are clubs and organizations that have been operating in NSW for over 100 years. The Amateur Fisherman's Association of NSW has been in continuous membership for well over this time and bases it's activities around fishing, much of it in Sydney Harbour. Another group, Gordons Bay Amateur Fishing Club, sits right in the centre of an existing marine reserve and they will be forced to take their small craft an unsafe distance offshore to continue to pursue their activities. This will place members of this (and all) club/s in unnecessary danger. The value of human life must always have priority.

 Next there is the investment in both lifestyle and related activity equipment. This would include fishing and boating equipment such as tackle, clothing and boats/motors/trailers etc that have been purchased by individuals. This is where enormous investment has been made. My own personal collection of fishing equipment would have a tremendous value and encompasses a lifetime of collecting. The economic ramifications of the proposal are also not taking into consideration economic factors such as suppliers of fishing tackle, bait, boats, boating equipment, fuel etc etc. Then there are those who make a living as fishing guides, most of whom have worked for many years to establish then build up their businesses. This profession requires expert hands-on experience that is gained from working in this field. This also is not a "transferable" consideration. 

 The community itself has also played an active part in the development of both a sustainable fishery and a cleaner environment. "Clean up Australia Day" is the best example of this, where volunteers pay particular attention to cleaning waterways of debris and rubbish. Catch-and-release-fishing is also a relevant example of the community's willingness to preserve existing stocks. 

 As I am no longer able bodied due to injury and illness, I have become much more restricted in relation to area that I can realistically access. A great fear is with further restriction of places to go (and have to share with others), that I will become unable to find suitable alternative locations and therefore be unable to engage in what has been/is my life's passion. This is extremely distressing to me.

 Using an example of an area which was deemed a marine park on the south coast of NSW at Mullimburra Point, I will relate the experience of a close friend in relation to the changes he has observed, since the implementation of the park in this area. He has asked me to include this in my submission. The area has been a marine sanctuary and no fishing zone for several years now. There was no "genuine" reason for this area to be zoned "no fishing" as the recreational use was extremely low impact, with only a small number of fishers (locals) using the resource and then adhering to regulations, bag and size limits. As this friend purchased this property with the intention of retirement, which included coastal fishing along the shoreline (beaches and rocks), he became distressed upon learning that the very location he chose, suddenly was deemed "off limits" to fishers. He would have bought elsewhere, as he now has to travel some 40 km to and from his home to find a suitable alternative location. The most annoying part, is ever since the sanctuary's declaration, there has been no significant monitoring of any supposed "improvements" or collection of data in the area. Questions should surely be raised as to the genuine validity of such an implementation in the first place. It would seem little more than another political decision, with minimal regard for the constituents of the area. Regardless of the lack of genuine scientific data, the area remains off limits. Under this regime, his right to the "quiet enjoyment of his property" comes into consideration.

 In summary, regardless of "suitability" studies, there are far too many factors that have not been realistically addressed with the needs of the community as a priority. Pandering to a vocal minority who appear to be ignorant towards the rest of the populations needs and values cannot be accepted. The economic cost to both individuals and a great number of the community must also remain the focus of any proposal and viable alternatives be considered or reconsidered. 

 I am certainly not against the introduction of scientifically based, well conceived, land or marine zones that are of genuine benefit to both the resource and the users, however, for reasons expressed, I would be in definite opposition to the introduction of this proposal.

 I trust these concerns will reach out to those who are in a position to evaluate them impartially and seriously, for this is far greater than just an environmental concern, it is in fact a "blueprint" for the sustainability of our Australian way of life. 

 

 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Waza - thats an excellent submission ... nice work!!

There has been some press this week that the pollies are considering backing down on the proposal but we shouldn't let the pressure off - we're all fisherman and know the job isn't done till the fish is in the boat so if you haven't had a chance to make a submission yet or sign one of the petitions that are in some tackle shops .... get it done!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Hill373737 said:

Waza - thats an excellent submission ... nice work!!

There has been some press this week that the pollies are considering backing down on the proposal but we shouldn't let the pressure off - we're all fisherman and know the job isn't done till the fish is in the boat so if you haven't had a chance to make a submission yet or sign one of the petitions that are in some tackle shops .... get it done!

Thanks mate took a long time to get it together. Would be good if press was right but Pollies NEVER to be "trusted" I doubt they will genuinely back down now, don't forget this is "stage 3" of the proposal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, masterfisho7 said:

Top stuff Waza that's one submission 

Thanks, as we are taking on an adversary with a document several hundred pages long I tried to cover all I could. Hope that some sensible folk are involved with the actual decision

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done Wazza,

I also gave them heaps. I was on 2GB  this week and didn't hold back on these scumbag polys who are trying to ruin our lives.

Cheers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Rebel said:

Well done Wazza,

I also gave them heaps. I was on 2GB  this week and didn't hold back on these scumbag polys who are trying to ruin our lives.

Cheers.

Hi Rebel thanks - trouble is, it is really hard to not get emotional and/or say what most of us would genuinely like to say.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is our "Surprise Grand Final"- the other side/s have been in training for quite some time and have collected much ammunition and "factual evidence" to use against our team (that has hurriedly been assembled) and given only minimal preparation time to respond. I hope I am completely wrong in thinking, that the reason so many areas were put into the proposal, was that the "For" arguers have left room for "compromise" and will simply reduce the number of areas to "appease" the "Against" ranks, which will still basically achieve what they originally intended.                                      As I see it, we MUST fight NOW with every resource we have and NOT compromise at all. Many believe that the proposal has sinister (from many viewpoints) motives and is only a political bargaining tool for one side or another. To continually suggest realistic alternatives (that don't keep participants from their chosen use of the resource) is one of the ways to address the issue.                                                                                                                                                               Everyone has good ideas to contribute to why they are saying no to the proposal. Many of these ideas/alternatives are often overlooked or not brought forward until "after the fact" - my view, is that coming up with viable alternatives to the initiatives of the proposal, will hopefully present the decision makers with genuine options, which can not be ignored, BEFORE 'decision time' arrives.                                                                                                                                                                         It is therefore vitally important to come up with examples of whatever your reasoning is.                                                             Surely, well presented alternatives/examples/arguments/suggestions will be taken into account.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi All,

We have till the 27th September 2018  to make our complaints to the renegade NSW Government. Go to the website and fill in the document, the more we complain the better. This NSW Government is so disliked on the Central Coast .  Fishing is a way of life in NSW. It was here before the Government arrived and it will be here after this Government is gone.

Cheers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Waza, that is the most comprehensive, well planned and constructive submission that addresses EVERY issue. Clearly, you are an extremely well educated and passionate recreational angler. TOP JOB mate, bn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, big Neil said:

Hey Waza, that is the most comprehensive, well planned and constructive submission that addresses EVERY issue. Clearly, you are an extremely well educated and passionate recreational angler. TOP JOB mate, bn

G'day Neil thank you! In my mind, I tried to imagine I was communicating with someone (the "overseers") who was 'emotionless' and only looking at the factual input, hence using multiple examples. Took a couple of weeks to summarise all the different points and it ended up being much shorter than I first envisaged!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      62,860
    • Total Posts
      499,495