'High-tech anglers target largest fish'

I don't understand why there needs to be a "stoush" over sanctuary zones in Batemans Marine Park (Bay Post/Moruya Examiner, October 7) between the Nature Coast Marine Group and the Narooma Port Committee. It seems everyone wants the same outcome - the Narooma Port Committee has stated that its mission is: "Fair and equitable zoning within the Batemans Marine Park, in particular scientific issues surrounding sanctuary zones to enable an outcome that is consistent with the Commonwealth and NSW goals in relation to Marine Protected Areas".

These goals are to protect biodiversity and sustainable fish populations. We differ only in the methods to achieve this. Sadly, fishing regulations alone are not enough to maintain fish populations since there are so many recreational fishers with high-tech equipment targeting the largest fish. And, as Professor Hugh Possingham says, it is the large fish that are the most important for sustaining fish populations. Science has shown that no-extraction sanctuary zones are essential tools for maintaining the health of marine ecosystems. It is a win-win for everyone.

Dr Jane Elek, President, Nature Coast Marine Group

Mr Blackman claims recreational fishers support sanctuary zones. One wonders why it wasn't 100 per cent when the question is phrased "do you agree that some areas of the marine environment should be protected even if it means recreational and commercial fishing is excluded".

The NSW Fisheries Act and Marine Estate Management Act both stress that resource use (fishing etc.) has to be ecologically sustainable. Perhaps the various environmental NGOs would like to demonstrate through any published material that this is not the case?

The areas "set aside to flourish undisturbed" are bathed in various pollutants within the Batemans Marine Park. Areas should be set aside for the use of scuba divers, snorkelers and marine scientists to reduce their interaction with other users. This is a social benefit for them, one of the factors within the marine estate management strategy.

I don't believe the concept of sustainable fishing is understood by many folk who correlate fishing with mammalian species. The quantum difference is the huge fecundity of fish and the astonishing susceptibility these fish eggs have to external stressors. Pollution is seen in every inlet and near-shore environment on the South Coast. The effect of this on fish eggs can be catastrophic if pollution is released after, say, heavy rain.

Wagonga Inlet has now been closed to oyster harvesting for human health reasons because of 25mm of rain in 24 hours - what is the effect on fish eggs?

Philip Creagh, Narooma

Marine life is reducing to a vulnerable level. There should be more marine protection zones, not less. Whales and dolphins should get priority for food sources; people have so much choice of what to eat.

Susan Krawczyk, Nowra

The fishing amnesty in sanctuary sections of the Batemans Bay Marine Park is concerning. There are shocking urchin barrens off Rosedale where I live. The sea looks pretty and unchanged on top but underneath there are growing deserts. We need the large lobster, groper and snapper grown in no-take zones to counter the urchin plague and allow healthy ecosystems to recolonise barren reefs. Ultimately, that will be better for fishers and strengthen the nature coast values so important to attracting visitors to our region.

Jack Egan, Rosedale

I've seen too many fisheries collapse.

From tuna and from Nowra to Newcastle and the last three year 90 per cent reduction in the Clarence River. Less mangroves, so less nurseries; Port Kembla had a huge amount of mangroves.

Buy out 70 per cent of the professional fishing licences and the others have to keep the boats they have, not upgrading to huge boats.

I worked out of Kiama in the 1980s and saw the collapse of the fish stock.

Andrew Judd, Congo

What are your thoughts on 'no-take zones'? Send us a letter: community.eurobodalla@austcommunitymedia.com.au

This story 'High-tech anglers target largest fish' first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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