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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Marine scientist, Rob Lewis

Here we have an article in the Adelaide Advertiser 9th Sep 2014
By a marine scientist, Rob Lewis. Former director of SA dept Fisheries, former director SARDI, and former presiding member of the marine council of SA.

Not quite sure were to start with this one, but for a second put everything else aside apart from the fact that this marine scientist doesn’t think that more frequent reviews of the management plans of marine parks are a good idea.

Management plans provide for the protection and conservation of the marine reserves. Management plans must set out how the reserves are to be managed. The plans provide certainty about the activities that will be allowed and not allowed in the reserves and must be consistent with the relevant Australian IUCN Reserve Management Principles which define how the marine reserves should be managed.

So in basic terms the management plans, manage the threats, let’s just go back on step, first before you can properly manage the threats you not only need to know what the threats are,  but how much of a threat they are. Without this information any management plans are fairly useless.

This marine scientist thinks that properly managing the marine parks would be a distraction to marine parks, he claims it would continue tensions and arguments between stake holders.

I would like to make a suggestion to Rob Lewis, if scientist like yourself actually did your job properly to protect our marine environment instead of using it as an opportunity to run an anti-fishing campaign then there would be much less tension.

How important are management plans? Let’s take one of the oldest marine parks in the country, the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Announcements of the escalating damage to the Great Barrier Reef confirm Australia's most famous Marine Protected Area has not been properly protected. UNESCO's shows Australia is in danger of becoming the first developed country to have World Heritage Status of an area revoked.

Now you will hear from many people who claim they care about our marine environment, blaming the Liberal government or mining companies for this threat to our GBRMP. But you will hear very little about the people/groups/political parties who have been at the forefront of advocating for marine parks, and management plans that allow this to happen in the first place.

It is increasingly obvious that management within the whole of the protected areas network has been, and remains, inadequate. If we had proper management plans or if they were revised more frequently, than dumping dredge waste on a marine park would simply not be allowed, it really is quite that simple.

An in my opinion I think it’s time that the people who really do care about the health of our marine environment start asking people like marine scientist Rob Lewis, who have been advocating that fishing should be banned in the management plans but something like dumping dredge spoils  shouldn’t.

Rob Lewis, again perhaps this is the reason for this tension you talk about. Perhaps it is because you have failed in your role as a marine scientist to provide honest unbiased facts, instead dishing out this crap.

As for the claim that marine parks increase fish stocks, this is not so black and white.  This is where Mr Rob Lewis uses a little bit of selective science. Yes in the absence of effective fisheries management marine parks have been shown to increase some fish stocks, but this is hardly surprising. If we had two apple trees and you were not allowed to take fruit from one of them, you don’t have to be a genius or in fact a marine scientist to work out which one would have more apples on it. The question how ever is which tree and surrounding environment would be healthier?
Banning fishing doesn’t necessarily benefit all the species of that area,  in fact having a larger amount of species anglers target in the area would in most cases put extra pressure on their prey, and its these very species that are facing the greatest threat. You might have seen a very nice marine park poster with a leafy sea dragon on it, with some claims about it needing protection! They want us to protect the leafy sea dragon by banning anglers targeting the very species that eats this leafy sea dragon! And they wonder why there is tension?

But what’s even more important is that is becoming clear that if we have affective fisheries management than the benefit of banning fishing is demonised greatly to the point that there is no net benefit in angler target species.

In finishing I would like to say to Mr Rob Lewis, instead of unfairly attacking fishing go out and do your job and protect our marine environment, so that my kids and all future generations can enjoy what we all enjoy today!

In our online world we now live in, your worlds Mr Rob Lewis will be around for all to read in the future and to decide if you were one of those that helped protect our marine environment or the reason it was destroyed!  

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