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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Banning netting and port expansion go hand in hand

On the 11th November 2006 the Brack’s government announced a voluntary buy back of commercial netting licences in Western Port. The Brack’s Labor government announced it will allocate $5 million dollars from our recreational fishing licence money. In the end $4 million dollars in total of our recreational fishing licence money was spent on this voluntary buy back.

To put this in perceptive, during the 2007/2008 financial year, the sale of the recreational fishing licences generating receipts of about $4.6 million.

The State Government indicated Hastings will be developed into Victoria's second container port within about 30 years. By early 2007 plans were underway for the Port of Hastings expansion, having not only removed on stake holders from the area but used recreational fishing licence money to buy them out instead of the money coming out of consolidated revenue, saved the state government a few million dollars and some headaches from a stake holder group that would have opposed the plan.

The idea of a buyout of the commercial netters was sold to recreational anglers as a benefit to them. A cynical angler might have a slightly different opinion. At the same time the government was moving full steam ahead with the dredging of PPB which was scheduled to begin in 2008 and completed in 2009.

In 2009 Portsea beach had started washing away, July 7th 2013, a report released by environmental consultancy firm Water Technology, commissioned by the Victorian government states that the dredging of Port Phillip Bay contributed to the destruction of Portsea front beach and other damage along the Mornington Peninsula.

A study by environmental consultancy firm Water Technology found that changes to the seabed caused by the $720 million channel-deepening project appear to have increased the size and velocity of waves reflected towards Portsea front beach.

The research also found that wave energy had been redistributed along the Mornington Peninsula following the completion of the project, which enabled larger ships to reach Melbourne's docks.
The department of Environment and Primary Industries commissioned a second study from the CSIRO, which also found that dredging contributed to larger and more powerful swells at the southern end of the peninsula.

Earlier this year a group started calling for the banning of commercial netting in Corio bay, claiming a big drop in fish numbers. Their action is being supported by a local council member as well as federal minister Burke and local federal MP Darren Cheeseman.
This commercial fishery is a State managed fishery, and neither Minister Burke or Daren Cheeseman being federal MP’s can do anything about it, this is nothing but an attempt to sway the recreational fishers vote in this coming federal election, with false promises and fake deals. Both Minister Burke and Darren Cheeseman should be ashamed, as the record shows they have both been hostile to recreational fishing. Minister Burke having at last count removed and banned over 1500 recreational anglers from his Facebook page, who responded after he claimed in parliament on the 4th June that recreational anglers are not concerned with the commonwealth marine park, management plans, that do very little but lock recreational anglers out unfairly. These so called management plans have failed to even identify the threats these areas face let alone do anything to manage these threats. Instead Minister Burke ran an elaborate anti-fishing campaign right from the start of this commonwealth marine park process. That falsely portrayed fishing as the single biggest threat to our marine environment, even in areas he says we don’t even go, and now he has the audacity to pretend he is concerned about recreation anglers, what a big joke.

MP Darren Cheeseman another pretend friend of recreational anglers, has started a petition calling on the state government to ban commercial netting in Corio Bay, claiming big drop in fish numbers and that recreational anglers would be happy if there money was used to buy out commercial licences once again.

There are more beneficial ways to spend recreational fishing licence money, the science clearly shows that the threats to the species in PPB come from other areas not fishing. Its time Politicians stop using this anti-fishing propaganda, for no other reason than to benefit their own political careers.

Read more about what the real threats are to PPB species.

Recreational fishing is a big industry. It is estimated that recreational fishing contributes $2 billion to the Victorian economy each year.

Geelong boat builders such as Makocraft would benefit if people knew that fish were back in the bay in significant numbers.
Local tackle shops, hotels, petrol stations, bait suppliers would all see an increase in trade and employ more people.”

I can’t remember Mr Cheeseman’s being concern when the impact of his government’s commonwealth marine parks on these same type of businesses was raised by the recreational fishing industry, only a few months ago!

Darren Cheeseman has also started a petition to ban the netting in Corio bay.
That can be found here.

One would assume that a federally elected member of parliament of over 6 years would understand what the requirements are of a petition to be tabled in either the Victorian Legislative Council or Legislative Assembly. Obviously not!

A petition to be tabled in either the Victorian Legislative Council or Legislative Assembly require among other things a signature and address of every petitioner, hand written and not photo copied.

Here you go Mr Cheeseman

Here is an explanation of Mr Cheeseman’s petition by Mr Cheeseman’s, where he claims these nets take all the fish in their path and decimate critical nurseries.

One would have to ask Mr Cheeseman if he also supports the Victorian National Parks association call for 3 new marine parks in Corio Bay.

If the netting in Corio Bay is such a threat to this nursery as Mr Cheeseman states, then it’s an environmental issue not a recreational fishing one, perhaps he can offer some federal money for a voluntary commercial licence by back.

Mr Darren Cheeseman has also started another petition on a state issue, maybe he is just confused. 

I fought hard to stop the super trawler from fishing off the Great Ocean Road and now we need to stop the netting in the bay.” Says Mr Cheeseman.

This is how hard he fought for recreational fishing,

Wed 12th Sep 2012

Mr CHEESEMAN (Corangamite) (10:22): I rise today to speak in favour of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Declared Fishing Activities) Bill 2012. This is in response to the super- trawler, the vessel that was once known as the Magiris and now referred to as the Abel Tasman, seeking to fish in Australian waters…….

Well here are a few parts from this mentioned bill as it stood at the time Mr Cheeseman’s spoke up in parliament.

Subdivision A—What is a declared fishing activity?

(2) A,
fishing activity means an activity that constitutes fishing
390SD Interim declaration
Making an interim declaration

(1) The Minister may, by legislative instrument, make a declaration (an interim declaration) that a specified fishing activity is a declared fishing activity.

(a) there is uncertainty about the environmental, SOCIAL or economic impacts of the fishing activity; and

Which if left as it was, would have threatened every single commonwealth recreational fishery on nothing more than social concern. Thanks for your help Mr Cheeseman!

And here is Minister Burkes insolvent in the super trawler.

Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines, September 2007. Tabled in parliament, by the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Tony Burke.

“there are considerable economies of scale in the fishery and the most efficient way to fish may include large scale factory freezer vessels. “

If you would like to read more about Minister Burke and the Labor party involvement in allowing the super trawler into Australia please read this.

And now we come full circle
Public hearings of the joint party Economic and Infrastructure Development Committee s Inquiry into local economic development initiatives in Victoria
13th March 2013
Evidence given by John Stewart Murray the General Manager of Ports for the Asciano group, representing the Geelong ports(John Stewart Murray also runs the Port of Hastings)

“I think I should probably point out that there is a study that is being commissioned by a number of different stakeholders at the port, including the council , Geelong Port, GrainCorp, Midway, IPL, et cetera—everything from users to owners of the port and Ports Pty Ltd itself as an owner of a big chunk of the assets — who are basically trying to get in together and have an external report generated to look at a high level as to what the opportunities are in the port”

“GrainCorp are running a lot of their vessels out at about 70 per cent loaded, and then they take them round to Portland and top them up. That is a significant cost to the owners of that grain, so there are certainly benefits there. In order to attract the mineral sands trade ideally we would have deeper water, and there is no doubt we would give ourselves a lot more opportunities if we had the same depth of water as Melbourne.”

“Melbourne has 14 metres of water and we have 12.3 metres”

VRCA chief executive, Captain Peter McGovern pointed out that trade – especially bulk trade - is not static.
“Older smaller ships are less economical and cargo parcel sizes are larger in today’s world. Trade is not static.” Capt. McGovern said. “The reality is that as ships in the world fleet are replaced the newer ships are bigger and that has ramifications for the Geelong access channel.”

It appears there is a major push to not only expand the Geelong port but to deepen the channel as well, although maintenance dredging occurs Corio Channel & Point Henry Channel about every 4 years now, the environmental impacts of deepening the channel could have devastating consequences as shown by the PPB channel deepening. Let alone the greater risk the impact of increased shipping traffic would have.

So again we have to ask what are the real threats to Corio Bay, and are we being played?

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