Friday 17 April 2009

Queensland fishing industry being closed down

Trinity Beach local, John O'Grady writes that the Queensland State Government has progressively and systematically gone about shutting down the fishing industry, and is destroying thousands of jobs along the way.

Bowing to pressure in return for voting preferences of Green lobby groups, and shaky environmental evidence to say the least, State Labour Government have all but thrown the switch off on a viable industry that not only generated employment but greatly contributed to essential omega 3 intake that is essential for our normal brain function.

While the western world and countries such Australia and America see research results indicating that mental illness is drastically rising, people in Asian countries which have a larger weekly intake of sea food have a relative low and stable degree of mental illness. This is believed to be due to 'omega 3'.

Not only have the Government shut fisherman out of their traditional fishing grounds, they have dramatically increased the license fees, permits, paperwork and associated bureaucracy that seems designed to make it so unappealing for any newcomer to the industry, it seems as part of their overall plan.

Australia has one of the largest coastlines of any country in the world and now much of this is locked up as marine national parks, effectively making them no-go areas for fishing.

On a global food production basis, it seems hypocritical that at the same time we are locking up our shores, we are expecting Asian countries, such as Thailand with a much smaller length of coastline and four times the population to supplement our requirements for sea food!

As globalisation further shrinks the world and countries become more reliant on trade and sharing of resources, it is only a matter of time until one of these other countries, challenge through international courts our right to be selfish with our food resource while we help deplete theirs.

This hypocritical attitude doesn't stop at the fishing industry. Think about, while we are one of the largest exporters of coal to China, and China continues to develop more and more coal fired power stations each year, our own carbon footprint is only equal to about 1.6% of the global problem.

It's as if the Government thinks Australia is inside a bubble and the coal China burns won't affect us.

While they have us all changing light bulbs and converting to plastic rainwater storage tanks, maybe we need to stop and ask a few questions like; how much carbon is emitted in the process of using petro-chemicals to create a rainwater tank and if we are all to have these, what is the pollution impact in real terms.

The recent Queensland State Government elections once again saw the usual horse-trading for green preferences and a guarantee by State Labour that no public servant in it's administration would loose their jobs.

At a time when the whole world is winding down and the Government coffers are being battered by a severe lack of revenue, how can you guarantee peoples jobs unless you are prepared to see much of the public service sitting around with little to do.

Chances are that the State Government will invent yet even more regulation and bureaucracy to make these people look busy in a world that is already overburdened by regulation and systems that just don't work.

With the massive debt our State Government has taken on coming off the back of one of the biggest boon periods in Queensland's history, you have to wonder what went wrong. If I ran a company largely insolvent like the Government is running, ASIC would shut me down. Doesn't the Queensland Government have an ABN number? Isn't the Government a corporation?

It's food for thought.


Paul said...

The rise of mental illness in Western societies certainly has a lot to do with cheap, easily obtained, yet illegal drugs, and comparatively affluent young people with too much time on their hands.

Paul said...

So mental illness is due to a lack of eating fish - course it is, and rain is god crying, speed cameras have nothing to do with revenue gathering and Americans can play rugby.

T. Asquith said...

John, there has to be a balance. Just because an industry provides 'employment', it does not justify support at non-sustainable levels. If 'employment' was the only criterion, we would have continued harpooning whales and ripping into our rainforests with chainsaws until both had ceased to exist.
As for the madness being suffered by the fish deprived: A small handful of walnuts each day will fix you up in no time. Food for thought indeed.

Syd Walker said...

John O'Grady's article doesn't even mention pesky little issues such as declining fish stocks and sustainable yield - let alone genuine environmental sustainability.

It would be amusing if it wasn't so sad. How much longer do otherwise intelligent people aim to keep up the pretense that the biosphere is an infinitely tolerant, infinitely resilient, infinitely caring mummy?

Time for Ecology 101 John.

Alternatively, if you want to mount a case that the commerical fishing industry has been operating sustainably in this region - and that new restricions aren't warranted - don't be shy. Tell us about it. Set our your case in sufficient detail that we can see its merits clearly.

Just avoiding the subject of sustainability won't wash. Too many of us have done Ecology 101.

Cairns Resident said...

It a good subject and one can have arguments either way.
There is a whole new bunch of evidence from scientists such as the eminent Marine specialist Walter Stark that shows actually the more you take out of the fishing food chain, the more opportunity there is for breeding.
Probably due to a lack of preditors etc.
Thailand for example feeds it 70+million population partly on seafood from a relatively smaller area than Australia has.
It is also a major exporter to other countries.
Thaland has been fishing these same grounds now for decades taking out thousands of tonnes of seafood daily with no aparrent reduction in catch over this period.
How do you explain this?
Their biggest problem at present is affording fuel to run their boats.
There is also a massive bi-catch industry that feeds pigs and makes fertilizer which goes into the human food chain.

Al said...

They may be taking out as much, or more fish in Thailand, Cairns Resident, but their ocean ecology has certainly been damaged and once highly sought after types of fish are becoming more and more scarce. A dry-land analogy could be that they are now left with only rabbits, albeit fast breeding.

Jan from Kewarra said...

So if eminent Mr Stark is correct, and the more you take out of the ocean, the better it replenishes itself, then why are all these countries who rely on seafood as a main dietary source, illegally and continually fishing in Australian waters???

Syd Walker said...

Maybe they ran out of their own magic puddings, Jan?

What's notable about this article and the comments that followed, is the complete lack of anything more subtantial than an opinion from the author and his supporters.

As poetic licence seems to be the order of the day, I'll point out it's a squishy debate, reminiscent of the contents of trawler nets laden with wriggling bycatch.

Andrew said...

Wanna see something really frightening for the fishing fraternity?

Check out the bottom of Page 37 of this months NQ Fish and Boat. It details a new "Coral Sea Heritage Park" extending from the tip of Cape York all the way down the coast. It's part of a 39 page document that has been submitted to the Federal Government titled "Coral Sea Heritage Park Final Submission".

I hope that it's an April Fools joke but it really wouldn't surprise me if it was for real.

If this gets through; you can forget fishing anywhere on the reef; the already bombarded tourism industry will be further decimated with job losses; and it's not just the charter boat operators.

This goes all the way back to the tackle shop owners who will (potentially) also go out of business as well.

Mike, this might be worth investigating and making an issue out of on it's own.

Noj Nedlaw said...

For those interested in the documents, here are a couple of links.

The first is from the CAFNEC site - Map of Proposed Coral Sea Heritage Park.

The second is the link to the 39 page document mentioned above - An Australian Coral Sea Heritage Park