Friday 5 November 2010

'Labor Ministers Jones and Burke are robbing future generations' - Bob Irwin

Conservationist and father of the late Steve Irwin, voiced his outrage following the State and Federal Government's decision not to protect our dugongs and turtles.

Bob Irwin says the protection of these species is now an international issue, especially in light of the UNEP/CMS findings last month in Abu Dahbi that the dugong will be extinct worldwide within 40 years.

"The decision reached by our Sustainability Ministers – Queensland State Minister Kate Jones and Federal Minister Tony Burke was weak and insipid and will only add to the decline of these unique creatures," Bob Irwin said today. "It is obvious that our governments have no understanding of how the natural world works."

"I called for a moratorium 12 months ago, on the hunting of dugong. The numbers of dugong need to be counted to determine whether it was sustainable to hunt these beautiful creatures. Aboriginal elders are also calling for the moratorium and they are looking towards the government to do this for them. They cannot do it themselves."

Irwin says State and Federal governments have refused to accept their responsibility to protect these animals.

"One can only assume that our governments are uncaring and totally incompetent when making decisions for our environment," Bob Irwin says. "I am deeply concerned that we are heading for another South East Queensland koala disaster; where due to the ‘head-in-the-sand’ attitude of our governments, we are now seeing localized extinctions of this little Aussie icon."

"I am and always will be a very proud Australian, but I am ashamed of our governments attitude towards our environment, and apologise to those Aussie citizens who are trying to make a difference and to all those countries around the world that are working hard to make things better."

"Our governments are not only failing our beautiful creatures, but are failing our children and future generations," Bob Irwin says.


KitchenSlut said...

Queer, dear!? That makes about as much literal sense as a KJM missive! Perhaps KJM can analyse the verbs and nouns and opinonate on its admissibility in a universal court?

Personally I think the reference to "doing good on Bob" sounds like some kind of kinky fetish?

Unknown said...

Bob Irwin is right! That must be the weakest attempt yet to placate and hose down this issue. Head in sand politics by the ALP, are we surprised? THEY MUST GO!

Leigh Dall'Osto said...

My understanding is that they are currently trying to get the numbers right before imposing moratoriums. Apparently it's difficult to do because only net catches require permits so all other turtles and dugongs caught are caught without any paperwork or information attached, making it extremely difficult to know the exact numbers.

Working with each community, the Government is trying to ascertain an approximate number while also negotiating with elders and community leaders on what they would choose as a method of control.

Some communities have imposed their own moratorium already but it is very difficult to police.

It appears to me that there is no question that the Aboriginal people should remain entitled to hunt for turtles and dugong, specifically for ceremonial purposes and celebrations, but sustainability dictates that the numbers must be limited. They may even have to become a treat before a meal, rather than the show-piece of the feast.

I am no expert however, and not a part of any negotiation currently taking place. I strongly encourage those who are a part of the process, to be realistic in their goals. Hunting creatures that are so vulnerable to extinction, means that rules must be stringent and must be adhered to, or the next generation will not even know what a dugong 'looks' like.

The biggest problem is the 'illegal' hunters anyway, and those will be even more difficult to police. Much more resource needs to go into this but those concerned need to ensure now, that it goes where it's needed and effective.

I am sure that the traditional owners of the Cape in all of their communities are just as concerned about the future of these majestic mammals. The process of keeping the animals around has begun in earnest and I wish all parties the best of luck. It's your land, your future, make the Government listen to you and give you the help required to save these creatures.

Colin Riddell said...

Leigh who works for nothing in curtis pittifulls office writes.

My understanding is that they are currently trying to get the numbers right before imposing moratoriums.

I thought Bob Irwin said have a moratorium and determine the numbers ?
That is what it is for.

What else did curtis ask you to write ?

Hans Van Veluwen said...

please don't ever tell me that the last Dugong was killed by an Aboriginal Australian just because he was allowed to do so because of traditional rights...

Leigh Dall'Osto said...

Germaine, I do not work for Curtis Pitt, nor have I ever in fact work for Curtis Pitt. I have on three occasions volunteered in his office while staff were on holidays but my job consisted of mailing and photocopying, not political insider information.

The views expressed above are my own and garnered from information from all over the place that anybody can look at to form their own opinions on the topic.

I understand what a moratorium is, but am also sure that there is strong opposition to this from some quarters although several communities have imposed their own.

I simply am of the view that the process of numbering catches needs to speed up and the entire process needs a quick resolution.

While I am sure that Curtis has spoken publicly about this issue, I have not spoken to him directly.
This view is my own, it is perhaps slightly idealistic as I am not part of the process, but it is still valid. Do not take my opinions away from me and give them to anyone else in future please. You may not value them, but I do.

:Kevin-John: Morgan. said...

Show me where the Nouns are Kitchenslut, and I'll give you a million dollars right now.
There's PLENTY of Verbs in these blogs, but there are only two verbs in the English language, which you probably don't even know exist! You've been LIED to!
Why do you persisit in modifying your language like a lawyer?
Get out of the kitchen, stop being a slut, and go back to school, and whilst you're there you may also learn that an Acronym is NOT someone's's just an Acronym, with no mathematical or sentence structure.

KitchenSlut said...

KJM. Your problem is that you yourself are not a noun but a verb? With thanks to the Buddha!

Matt CYP said...

Perhaps I'm splitting hairs, but it's incorrect to attribute dugong and turtle hunting to Aboriginal people - many more are taken by Torres Strait Islanders, and even migrant communities from other parts of the South Pacific.

Important family events like wakes, tombstone openings, weddings, and birthdays are celebrated with fabulous spreads better you'd find at most restaurants, and there is a real loss of face if turtle and dugong are not on the menu.

But with these growing communities now living primarily in the suburbs of Cairns and Townsville etc, the demand for these game meats can only be met by shipments from northern Cape York Peninsula and Torres Strait. Much of this questionable trade is undoubtedly commercial.

If these wild species are to survive, hunting should be limited to home communities for their local use, not expanded without control to satisfy the demands of city dwellers.

If State regulations can control the shipment of liquor into indigenous communities, surely they can control the shipment of game meats from these same locations.

Colin Riddell said...

The information I Provide is from 1998 by mark baker . Now 2ic for fairfax if it was this bad then wow hey?
Sorry it is in two parts.
Dr Colin Limpus, an expert on turtle conservation with the Queensland Department of Environment, estimates that about 10,000 of the migratory green turtles that nest in Australian waters are killed by fishermen each year. While most are captured in an expanding commercial trade in Indonesia and PNG, Dr Limpus reckons as many as 10,000 a year are hunted in and around the Torres Strait Peninsula Zone.

He believes this harvest is well in excess of sustainable levels for a species that takes between 30 and 50 years to mature and breeds only every five or six years. Traditional hunters - who also prey on pregnant dugongs for their foetuses and young calves - deliberately target mature female turtles for their eggs and supposedly superior meat. "Right now there are so many it's difficult for people to see the problem, but my crystal ball-gazing tells me we are losing them and we can't see it," says Dr Limpus. "I don't think we can afford to continue like this for more than, at best, another 15 or 20 years. We are hammering the hell out of them and when the crash comes it is probably going to be irretrievable." Dr Limpus is concerned at the lack of a conservation ethic among most Islanders. "They just see this as another food source that they can go and get whenever they like and that will be forever." Efforts by Australian officials and scientists to promote a co-operative management plan for turtles have drawn an indifferent response from Indonesia and PNG.

The problem for both dugongs and turtles is being compounded by indiscriminate hunting practices. Despite legal requirements that dugong be hunted only by "traditional means", islanders now use fast modern boats to chase the quarry and there are frequent reports of nets and guns being used. Officials of the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol confirm widespread abuses of traditional hunting rights: excessive catches of dugongs and turtles, dugong calves speared to lure adults with their screams and commercial netting in PNG waters within the jointly-managed protection zone. But the patrol has few resources and limited powers to respond.

Colin Riddell said...

Part two Remember this is from 1998 12 yrs ago.

The senior enforcement officer on Thursday Island, Mr Bruce Kingdom, said a group of hunters had recently killed about 30 dugongs within a two week period. "There's nothing we can do because Torres Strait Islanders are entitled to take as many as they like. There's no bag limit," he says. "Most of the elders are aware that they are a fragile species, but not all of the people in the communities listen to their elders. Some of the young hotheads get out there and do what they like."

Dorothea Nungarai, a volunteer fisheries ranger based on Friday Island, says many young islanders are catching turtles and dugongs for sport. She claims there have been several cases recently of pregnant dugongs being caught and their foetuses cut out and thrown back into the water so their cries will draw other members of the herd. Ms Nungarai says she has also seen large numbers of turtles and quantities of dugong meat dumped in the council tip on Thursday Island. " It would make you cry," she says. "These beautiful animals just thrown away. It's such needless waste. People are catching too much and when a fresh dugong is caught they just throw away the old meat they have in the freezer."

Henry Garnier, an elder from Hammond Island and deputy chairman of the Island Coordinating Council,the peak leadership grouping for the Torres Strait island communities, says many people are hunting dugong commercially - supplying the big islander communities in Cairns, Townsville and other southern cities - and some are using guns to kill them. "Some of our people are taking too much and some of them are doing it commercially. They are selling dugong meat locally and down south," he says.

Dr Colin Limpus is one of many people disturbed by the killing methods employed by traditional hunters, especially with turtles. "I have problems personally watching any animal being butchered alive, but I have to bite my tongue," he says. The RSPCA has little power to interfere with traditional hunting practices.

Despite the magnitude of the threat to dugongs and turtles - and the implications for Australia's international credentials in conservation - little is being done by Federal and State Governments, a situation that appears to be influenced by sensitivities about interfering with indigenous rights.

But a number of Islander leaders are beginning to recognise the need for action. Henry Garnier, who is reponsible for fisheries issues on the Islands Coordinating Council, plans to travel to all the outlying islands to urge adoption of a voluntary code to control hunting. "We need a management plan to protect dugongs and turtles for future generations," he says. "We have to do something about it and do it quickly. We should put a permit system in place. You have to have a very good reason to take dugong for traditional purposes. You can't just take it when you feel like it. This would give the councils some control."
Scary hey?

John Downer said...

Native "rights" are bullshit, no-one has the right to hunt a species to extinction, no matter how long they have lived on the land, or how far back the tradition goes .... what happens to their traditions when there's no dugong or turtles left?

Hunting turtles and dugong should be banned, right now, and for every Australian, regardless.

Colin Riddell said...

I heard Col Ridell on rugnuts show on wednesday and he refrenced this information on Dr Limpus .

I googled it and was shocked at what I read here is the whole link.

You keep doing what you are doing Mr Ridell.,&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au

I also know he now is a Queensland govt employee.
Adjunct Associate Professor Colin Limpus
Dr Limpus is Chief Scientist, Freshwater and Marine Sciences, Environmental Sciences Queensland Environmental Protection Agency and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Veterinary Science. Since 1976, Dr Limpus has conducted pioneering conservation and management research and education programs in marine turtles in Australia as well as in the USA, West Indies, Central America, Greece, South Africa, Oman, Saudi Arabia, India, Southeast Asia, southwest Pacific and Japan.

Dr Limpus’ current research focuses on the environmental impacts, ecology, population dynamics and conservation of long-lived, delayed maturity reptiles such as marine turtles, cloacal ventilating freshwater turtles and crocodiles, sea birds and dugongs.

Dr Limpus advises on and participates in all ecological aspects of Vet-MARTI’s charter.