The Great Barrier Reef

An interesting article by Walter Stark. It would be reasonable to say that no one knows more about marine biology, and certainly the Great Barrier Reef, than Starck

MPAs (marine protected areas) are an ill-considered and expensive idea that address no demonstrated problem. Bypassing full parliamentary scrutiny while permitting a single minister to exercise personal discretion in implementing a vast, costly, unneeded network of them is gross misgovernance.

How dangerous is that while we have the party of Joe Ludwig in power.

The Greens, Getup, Greenpeace and the ALP are forever harping about the damage fishing and the passage of ships does to the reef but Stark comments;

And all this debate about the danger posed to the reef by shipping is nonsense. One cyclone causes more reef destruction than if all of the ships that ever traversed the reef since the beginning of time crashed into it.

During World War II thousands of ships were sunk on or around reefs, bombed and smashed, some of them oil tankers. And where is the evidence of that today? To the extent that they went down on a reef they are now part of that reef. The Chinese bulk coal carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground on the reef east of Rockhampton in 2010 amid cries of outrage and demands to cease bulk shipping through the reef. But in reality it was a minor blip on the vastness of the reef, one that will quickly rectify itself.

I’m prepared to accept that comment as being closer to reality that the Greens industry breaking out in an attack of the vapours every time someone mentions ‘coal ships’ and ‘Gladestone’ in the same sentence.

A succession of baseless decisions have been made regarding limits on fishing the reef and Stark question the value of these.

MPAs do nothing to address pollution or climate change. Their sole effect is to further restrict fishing when we already have the world’s most highly restricted marine fisheries.

MPAs, closed seasons, size limits, bag limits, quotas, gear restrictions, limited licenses and access restrictions have been imposed willy-nilly on fishing with little or no evidence of any problem and no consideration of socio-economic impacts. It seems that current management has never seen an additional restriction they find unnecessary or superfluous to those already in place.

Australia has the largest per capita fishing zone and lowest harvest rate in the world at about 1/30 of the global average. We also have the most restrictive and costly marine resource management in the world. Two-thirds of our seafood consumption is imported. All of these imports come from much more heavily exploited resources elsewhere. This is unconscionable.

So we limit our catch of tuna, for example, while PNG licensed asians catches the tuna we don’t and then sell it back to us to the tune of AU$165 million.

Now that sounds like a plan…an ALP/Greens plan, that is.

It’s a good read and if you want to debate the Great Barrier Reef and fishing, mining, Gladestone, sinking ships and other ecological disasters then maybe, just maybe, it might add some balance.

At the very least it indicates that the further away from any Greens solution we can get, the better off all players will be

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