View Full Version : Fish Wars # - ABC TV #Thur 6pm

20-06-2006, 08:26 AM
There is a 4 part TV series worth watching on the GB Reef. # Especially the first episode "Fish Wars" #which is about Rec Fishers and the Authority. # #Its #a few years old and a lot has happened since then.

I saw a preview yesterday. # #It s on ABC TV #Thursday 6pm.

Synopsis below


Reef Dreams

Episode one: Fish Wars

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s natural wonders – a maze of coral cays and islands stretching over 2000 kms along the Queensland coast from Gladstone #to the Torres Strait.

The Reef is many things to different people. #For some, it’s a major tourist destination, a fisherman’s paradise, and a national park rolled into one. #And for others, it’s simply home, the place in which they have invested their hopes and dreams.

The Reef, as one of Australia’s most lucrative tourist destinations, is complex to manage with competing interests of commerce and conservation.

Episode 1 of Reef Dreams follows one such conflict between those trying to restrict access to the Reef and preserve it for the future and those who want to actively use the reef for their own recreation and feel excluded and angry.
# #…………………………..

Eight years ago GBRMPA, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority the government agency responsible for management of the park began a study into its long term viability.

A new initiative, the representative areas program (RAP) was put forward, #its aim to protect the biodiversity of the reef and which would require an expansion of the zones under protection from 5 % to 35% of its total area.

The proposed changes would affect many of those who use the reef including commercial fishermen, recreational fishers and tourism operators.

The recreational fishing lobby are particularly upset – fishing is a way of life up here and they feel decisions are being made by politicians #down south who do not appreciate the place of fishing in their lifes and they are worried that the expanded zones will mean they #will no longer be able to fish in their favourite spots

Arthur Dobe has lived in Townsville in Northern Queensland for 30 years and fishing was a large factor of his move up here. He and his wife joy are both avid fishers and have made many memorable catchs – particularly of barrumundi. Arthur also runs a #Saturday morning fishing show which is heard up and down the coast as far as Torres Strait. On the airwaves the green zones is the hot topic of the day.

Arthur and some friends – come together for a meeting and decide to form a new group – REACT – (Recreational Fisherman Against Closure Totally ). They decide to lobby and gather as many submissions as they can to stop or minimize the Green Zones going ahead. #

This is a classic confrontation over competing interests for the reef.Arthur and his mates dispute GRUMPA’s claim that the reef is under threat from recreational fishers and that they have any impact on fish stock. The danger they say comes from the commercial fishers, pollution run off and global warming.

They set up a number of protest meetings for rec fishermen – which are well attended and run a public meeting in the Townsville Town Hall attracting hundreds of disgruntled punters.

Their protests also attract the attention of a scientist, Walter Stark who has been diving on reefs all over the world for 40 years. He also says that 95% of the reef self manages and it is in no danger at all – that GRUMPA are a bunch of office works with a vested interest in creating problems.

The dramas and arguments are played out across the airwaves , in the shopping malls and up and down the coast as the deadline for the submissions approaches.

20-06-2006, 01:30 PM
Has this been on before Gary? I'm fairly sure I'd remember it if it was and I can't say I recall it. Maybe they didn't play it in GBR areas ::)

20-06-2006, 02:00 PM
It hasn't been seen before - so the producer told me

20-06-2006, 02:16 PM
thanks 4 that make sure i tune in

20-06-2006, 02:31 PM
Should be very interesting, thanks for the heads up.

20-06-2006, 04:06 PM
Thanks for the heads up i'll take a look its sounds interesting . ;)

20-06-2006, 05:12 PM
Cheers Gary for the info.

I'll sticky it until Friday. This IS the sort of thing that the average fisho should take the time to have a decko at.

Hope it's impartial and factual !!!! ::)


20-06-2006, 05:37 PM
thanks Phil

22-06-2006, 06:32 PM
Arthur for PM!!!! what a bloke.



22-06-2006, 06:38 PM
Well having just watched this it was brutally obvious, as most of us thought at the time, that it was all a foregone conclusion. Makes the need for organisations such as The Fishing Party and many others all the more obvious. If we as fisherman ever wise up to how much collective pressure (votes) we exert then we're in with a chance. There's a whole lot more fishos out there than hard core greenies.

22-06-2006, 06:57 PM
Well sayed there Borisdog [smiley=thumbup.gif]I couldn't say any better
I can't wait to watch the other 3 parts of it too go and shows like this makes the pulbic aware of what has happen and story behind it

22-06-2006, 07:00 PM
Are our eyes open yet. :o ::)

22-06-2006, 07:02 PM
I noted with trepidation, that when the " GBRMPA " officer was asked on air about " Scientific #research and facts ", there was complete silence #>:(

The story was probably put together last year and early this year. #The results were forgone and no amount of consultation with the rec fishos was going to change the draft.

The Fishing Party is the way to go. #No amount of petitions presented by the rec public will do good. #We have to get " IN' the political arena and battle the powers from an even platform.

The amount of closures in North Queensland to recreational fishing areas was closer to 75%, rather than the whole reef closure, quota of 33%. #The good fisherfolk in the South East of this great State are not nearly affected as much as our northern cousins, and therefore, that is why the people like " arthur " are jumping, wobbling, hobbling mad about what has taken place.

We all know the contributors to the decline in the reef system. #Let's deal with that first, rather than let the powers that be brutalize the underfunded, slightly disorganized ( for now ) and apathetic general recreational fishing public.

Soap box now, vacated.............. ::)


22-06-2006, 07:57 PM
Heard it all before Phill! I love fishing but have been involved in another interest here in Victoria. We had tens of thousands march through the steets of Melbourne and still got done over by the politicans. They know that they don't have to come up with any factual evidence , they can divide buy offering a few pieces of silver. There is only one way to stop them and that is to stay united and keep politicians accountable, DON"T FORGET at election time and and keep up the fight otherwise we will only be participating in our chosen interest on the internet!

22-06-2006, 08:16 PM
Thanks Gary, I was home at this time (for a change) and caught the show.

Where are we today? The announcement was over 12 months ago (I think).
Has the expected Armageddon for rec anglers actually come about?

I'm keen to hear from those directly affected. I must say though I fished the reef last year on a charter and the skipper did not make any complaints about any closures affecting his business.

Politics costs money, we need to be raising cash not awareness!

Only through well funded political campaigns will the fishing party actually get a proper say.

22-06-2006, 09:37 PM
Hi Big T,

Unfortunately I missed the show, but it seems to have
stated what I allready know, as at the time I made a personal
submission and attended meetings with gbrmpa.

Re expected armageddon, I have just read that the cairns
2006 Tinnie and Takle show has been cancelled. reasons
stated gbrmpa closures coupled with effects of cyclone
monica/Larry has lead to a downturn in rec fishing, from which
many cairns district bussinesses don,t expect to recover.

This is not a good sign

23-06-2006, 08:03 PM
I have a tape of it.

Since then fishing is down 30% in some regions (DPI data)

Some businesses are bankrupt and not eligible for the restructuring grants. To get approvals GBRMPA said these grants would amount to $8m that a lot of money. Except they are over $120m and on the way to $200m according to those managing the claims from our side. (I think there are claims the Govt has not seen yet)

How did we end up with the rezoning of the Barrier Reef? It was never to do with any science - that’s why submissions, logic, Sunfish and protest were never going to work.

Howard wanted the GST through the Senate 10 yrs ago. So he did a deal with the Democrats and they got 33% of the GB Reef closed off and some new Diesel fuel standards in exchange for passing the GST. The Democrats demands were pushed through and the public consultation they did was just for show. There was no point lobbying, protesting or making submissions. It was a done deal.

But it got worse: the Authority - GBRMPA in their consultation, asked people “where do you fish so we don’t take it” then the poor fools trusted these people. In every case the GBRMPA immediately zoned the fishing area green. This included a dummy zone – where there were no fish at all but some untrusting commercial fishers said was important – but in fact it was barren. It got zoned green – so much for the science.

Another – a marlin fishing area in 300m of water was taken from his log books and zoned – even though there is no reef in 300m of water.

This is how the zealous public servants took a mandate to close 33% of the reef and turned it into effectively 70% to 80%. There was no science and no need. It was just politics and public servants with their hand in the cookie jar. And the example of how they did it is being celebrated by green groups and public servants around Australia as the way to win.

Now, what if the Fishing Party had not been there at the last election and the Greens had the balance of power in the Senate and Howard wanted his industrial legislation? What deal would he do to get his Industrial Legislation? Bartlett’s Animal Rights Bill? Probably; well maybe: especially as they had not noticed the fine print that would ban all fishing.

Why does Howard not have to do this? How can Howard ignore the Greens and Democrats? He has the balance of power in the Senate. The Fishing Party with its lousy 30,000 votes tipped the balance and kept the Greens candidate from winning that last Senate seat in Qld.

I work with the guy who didn’t get the Senate seat. Guess what looks I get?

In Germany they have banned all catch and release fishing, all live baiting and all fishing competitions. To get a fishing licence is a long course on fish biology. From memory its 20 hours of courses and a 2 hour exam that is not easy to pass. That thanks to the Green Party in Germany.

Heads out of the sand please. Fishing is under attack right now. The enemy are organized professional and well funded.

23-06-2006, 11:38 PM
Hi gary

I see they are now considering a new electorate from Gladstone
to North of Bundy.
Lot of unhappy fishermen in this area. I,d say they are trying
to sure up Hinkler for Paul Neville.

cheers Mick

24-06-2006, 05:24 PM
I'm going to tread carefully here but try to bat for conservation.

Terrestrial National Parks - are you allowed to hunt/trap in them? Yet you can still go and do the same in 70% of the worlds biggest marine park.

I fish Townsville - the closest green zone is off Cattle Creek 100km up the road - I can still fish all the inshore reefs south of Cattle down to Townsville. The shoals off Magnetic Island are still accessible. Yellow zones occupy a fair amount of space around Townsville and I've learnt better ways to fish them and I believe the fishery is the better for it.

Changing Cleveland Bay to Yellow has resulted in BIG increases in mackeral catches and an obvious recovery of the seagrass beds.

The % of hard coral reefs has gone from 23% to ~35% green - not a big increase meaning that most of the big increases in protection have been in the in-between areas. As far as I can gather and with good Science showing that fisheries in the reef follow a spatial cycle eg: young Nannygai and Red Emperor spending life nearer the coast to move out as they mature, it seems logical to me that 'corridors' of green zones are a good idea.

We may not like the way politicians do things but sometimes at least some good can come from what they do.

How do all you rec fishos feel out there that Beattie "rolled" on the protection measures initially put forward in the STATE marine park zoning. He said no problem, all you pro netters and pro crabbers can carry on carrying on. What the?? There's only one Estuary near Townsville where reco's can go knowing that pros don't go there (not leagally anyhow). The Haughton and as a result ya dead lucky to get a good feed from there because all us rec-fishos go there.

Plenty of people no doubt have lost a few of their favourites marks to green zones. And some businesses will use the re-zoning as an excuse, but I go down to the fishing shops on the week end and judging by the clientelle I'd say that the retail section is doing alright.

As for myself I probably support the notion of catch limits as proposed by Steve Jetson from Hyperspace Fishing as opposed to zoning. It may be that pollies wanted to see something concrete and that's why I dunno. Chances are that catch limits are going to come anyway.

I'll hand over the soap box to someone else now.


24-06-2006, 09:10 PM
Hi Mozz,

Tread carefully you did, and most rec fishos would agree with some
extent to your conservation views. Contrary to popular belief we are
not all out raping and pillaging the worlds seas.

If I could point out though, that comparing Land NP.s to Marine NP,s
is not a very wise move. the mismanagement of Land NP,s has resulted
in record numbers of feral animals which is having a devastating effect
on some native animals, and costing the nations farmers millions.
On top of that you have the lock out of various groups such as
horse riders. the bulldozing of fire breaks to prevent access to 4wd
ets. And remember Canberra burned due to the mismanagement
of national parks and forestries.

I wonder if the reason Townsville was relatively spared in relation to
closures, is that GBRMPA is based there, and as such didn,t want
to shit in there own nest so to speak. I predominantly fish the most
southern waters of the GBRMP and I can not travel 100km in any
direction without entering at least one green zone, and outside the
green zones it is rare to catch a decent fish unless you are lucky
enough to sit or drift in front of a passing school. I now have to
travel so far out to legaly fish, that if the weather is even slightly iffy
I can not carry enough fuel to guarantee a safe return.

My current boat is going on the market in the next couple of weeks,
as if I am to continue fishing a larger boat is now required as a
matter of safety. I am expecting to be 20 - 30 thousand out of
pocket and no chance of compo.

But hey fishing is not life and death, its much more important.

The flow on effect is going to be enormous, and everyone is
going to start screaming when it finaly reaches the real estate
market. (Thats just my prediction)

cheers mate, and I hope I havnt ruffled too many feathers

24-06-2006, 10:12 PM
Yep I believe the gov. Beattie said the state gov would follow the lead of the Gbrmp zoning so we could avoid confusion. ::)WTF :o :o :o Wots a yellow zone with pink lines :question :question :question Yeah right some may think it is a one line one hook zone (not right) others may feel it is commercial free free zone(not right) More bullshit from Beattie.

We need to get these on level ground.

25-06-2006, 05:20 PM

Point taken and also terrestrial NP's amount to only ~5% of the area. The problems with NP's is that the QLD govt doesn't get a cent out of them so there's not much motivation to put the dollars in to keep them properly managed. I for one get cranky about having to pay $6 a night so you can imagine the outcry if they upped the charges to pay for on-ground costs. And the councils will baulk at having extra management of NP's 'cos they don't pay rates.

It's sad you have to get a bigger boat just so you can get a good fish or two but the impression I got was most of the bigger urban areas were given some preference in terms of green zones. The trouble with Rocky/Gladstone is its a bloody long way out to the Swains/Reef and what inner/mid reefs and shoals there are will have attracted an extra proportion of 'green' by virtue of their unique-ness.

You're right - the real effects won't be known for a few years.

In the meantime the sea-change effect hasn't changed much here in Townsville and I see a few more saling boats and pleasure boats just in the 5 years I've been here. What remains to be seen is wether RAP will deliver what I aims to do - protect marine ecosystems.

What I'm really cranky about is the State Marine park zoning - the estuaries have a major effect on marine/inshore reefs in terms of spawning and grub for the bigger fish. I don't believe in half-measures the right thing to do would have been to have consistent state marine park zoning. What is pink on yellow anyway?


25-06-2006, 08:19 PM
Mozza, I too am based in Townsville and, at the risk of getting off-topic, I think there are a few little points to be challenged in your assertions. In fact I risk being accused of nit-picking.
Cattle Creek is not 100km N of Tsv and there are a lot closer green zones than that to TSV. Maggie Island bays for starters.
Maggie shoals still accessable? Try telling that to Ryan Moody who was certainly one of the better charter ops in TSV. He's re-located to Cardwell I believe due to the loss of business. Apparently he thinks he can make a better go of his business there.
Coral reef % protection was 25% before green zones. You are joking of course. Aren't you? My guess is it used to be about 5% and now it's about 30%, but it depends on your definition of protection. I will agree with other posters who say Townsville was treated lightly - we certainly were in relation to places such as Cairns.
There was an article in TSV Bulletin on Saturday spruiking the results of the "Effects of Line Fishing" survey - it's been running for the last 10 yrs. One of the GBRMPA scientists was quoted as saying what a great demonstration of the effectiveness of Green Zones it was. Shame about them only being in force for 2 out of the 10 years of the study. Maybe I'm just a cynic.
My point is this whole thing was foisted upon us with absolutely NO option and the more we condition ourselves to accept it the more we will continue to get shafted. I do not for one second believe that recreational fishing represents the single biggest threat to the GBR, yet this seems to be on the mind of many in the conservation world. The single biggest protection the "Hard Coral Reef" has from recreational fishermen is , IMHO, the weather.
I do not dispute the need for regulation of this unique place, but I really do feel we're at the short end of a feel good vote buying exercise.
Other than that Mozza (And others) - good, thought provoking debate. Very healthy.
PS - Do agree with the comments re the Haughton

26-06-2006, 07:48 PM
Ta Borisdog,

Cattle may as well be 200km away given the time it takes to get into the system unless you know few cane cockeys. Point taken on the Maggie zones- but weren't they zoned already?

%Reefs zoned. I'll have to go back and check on that but I was quoting a % of outer reefs only ie 25% of the outer reefal areas (not the whole park). What makes the rezoning harder to take is where the original zoning was measured as a distance from reef edge, alot of the shoaly, deeper reefal areas near the old green zones could be fished. Not now.

I think a good spot to see how green zones are faring is to see how the fishery behaves in Cattle and to the south where the inshore reefs aren't green. 1km out from the mouth of Insulator is a non-green inshore reef (actually there's a whole bunch) and it'll be interesting to see whether the catch rates improve there. Maybe we should all be quite happy we can go and net/crab cattle creek with a ruddy great big green zone out the front!!

It's funny you know, I have the impression that there was not a lot of interest in those inshore reefs until RAP came along. Who wants to go and study some muddy old 'dying' inshore reef when there's much sexier reefs to have a gander at further out.

I'm starting to cr@p on here so I'll sign off 'cept to say that I've got tomorrow off and I know where I'll going - spot "X", right in the middle of a yellow zone and with a bit of luck a couple of juicy barra will be cooling their heels in my esky by the end of the day.

See y'all