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  1. #1

    GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    Great shark swindle

    Exclusive by Samantha Williams
    March 05, 2007 12:00
    Article from: The Daily Telegraph
    FOR years we've been told their numbers are dangerously low and grey nurse sharks are on the brink of extinction.
    But a source from NSW Fisheries, the agency responsible for managing our fisheries resources, has claimed the State Government has been fudging figures in a bid to close off fishing spots.
    "They (the Government) claim the numbers are failing when it flies in the face of anecdotal evidence which shows there are much more . . . in the thousands," the insider told The Daily Telegraph.
    The Government and green groups have been claiming there are fewer than 500 grey nurse sharks on Australia's east coast – but recreational fishers say the breed is thriving in dozens of reefs not checked by scientists.
    They say there could be up to 6000 in NSW.
    It is also believed the Independent Commission Against Corruption has been called to investigate complaints about use of the shark's numbers to close off reefs.
    The Government has refused to accept that there are more than 500 grey nurses in NSW.
    The last time it conducted a count was in June 2003 when divers helped tag 24 sharks.
    A second survey was done last August but the Government said the information was not used because it was not widespread enough.
    The NSW Fisheries source said the sharks were being used as leverage to turn more water into sanctuary zones banning recreational fishermen from their favourite spots.
    "Marine parks work well but don't use the grey nurse shark as an excuse for them," he said. "The shark's numbers are reaching a situation where they are showing up on reefs where we've never seen them before."
    There are 14 designated grey nurse shark sites closed off for fishing activity – but the source claims there are dozens more where the sharks have been sited.
    Underwater Spearfishermen's Association secretary Mel Brown has kept records of shark numbers for 10 years.
    He believes numbers have increased to 6000.
    "They are not as threatened as the scientists reckon – we see grey nurse everywhere," he said.
    Department of Primary Industries chief scientist Steve Kennelly said he was aware of the grey nurse claims.
    "I have not seen the evidence," he said.
    "Until I see the sites I can't say if these claims are true or false."

    A SOURCE from NSW Fisheries says the State Government has been fudging grey nurse figures in a bid to close off fishing spots. Picture: Simon Latta / The Daily Telegraph


    This is a big story - more to follow!!!


  2. #2

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    An emotive "saving the dugong habitat" will be used in much the same way by some groups in the MBMP review.
    Interesting to note that scuba diving, snorkeling is still allowed in protection areas when this was one means used to kill GNS in the first place.
    How many GNS or dugong have been caught by rec fishers? we all know that answer!! escape goats again !!! (intended mistake).
    It's about time the lies, misinformation and lack of empirical evidence behind GNS protection areas is made public.

  3. #3

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    An "insider"....how very, very interesting.

    We will follow this one.

    KC

  4. #4

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    Get me Hendersens back KC at least for trolling


    This GNS zoning thing has been a crock of shit from the beginning. Another Beattie bend over the table for rec fishing to appease the greens.
    You can't be neutral on a moving train

  5. #5

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adamy View Post
    "They are not as threatened as the scientists reckon – we see grey nurse everywhere," he said.
    Department of Primary Industries chief scientist Steve Kennelly said he was aware of the grey nurse claims.
    "I have not seen the evidence," he said.
    "Until I see the sites I can't say if these claims are true or false."

    ......... Does this mean if Mr Kennelly sees these sites they will be closed to anglers as well? Do we keep "mum" with information so further closures are avoided?

  6. #6

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    "A SOURCE from NSW Fisheries says....."
    Very strong evidence there regarding fudge.

    "Underwater Spearfishermen's Association secretary Mel Brown has kept records of shark numbers for 10 years. He believes numbers have increased to 6000."

    I would be very interested to know what he believed the level was 10 years ago if he has kept those figures. If the numbers have increased to 6000 as he says given the slow breeding of GNS then that figure would have been well in excess of the 500 quoted by official sources. Call me cynical but if the official figures were so wrong then why has it taken all this time and just before the NSW state election to come out with these claims.

  7. #7

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    Hmmm, very interesting.
    I went on a charter out of Yamba last month, and the skipper knew a lot about this issue.

    He had a history of negotiating between the govt and the greenies to bring forward the pro fishers views on the albatros and longline issue. He said he handled it in such a way that he is one of the few fishers that the govt and greenies will take seriously (his words). He was able to negotiate and end to the issue that kept the fishers happy, the pollies happy, and even the greenies were happy.

    He said the greenies definitley hold a balance of power that the pollies need to take seriously. The greenies make waves about save the furry seal, albatros and grey nurse , etc.

    This skipper was keen on getting grey nurses reclassified by the pollies, and knew the right guys to do it. He knew pros who were prepared to tell him (and nobody else where the grey nurses were), so they could be counted. He thought the govt would take his numbers seriously, and he also reckoned there were 6000 out there.

    Apparently, the greenies are happy to relent on an issue, if you can give them a new issue instead, as long as the look like they hold power, they seem happy.

    I reckon this 'insider' and the skipper I met are related issues. He seemed pretty keen on doing something political about GNS.

    Andrew

  8. #8

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    Under the laws of my line fishing licence i,m supposed to report any sightings of endangered or threatened species in my log book and give exact locations but as all of you know this is not possible unless i cut my own throat and risk losing some of my spots to the greens.

    I would love to give some proof of some grey nurse locations such as photographs which i have but theres to much to risk in doing so. I know of at least three locations on flat gravely bait grounds in 20 fathoms plus well away from any structure that hold big populations of these sharks that i have released this season, in excess of 30 sharks a week sometimes ranging from 5 to 10 feet long of both sexes showing very healthy numbers but as the risk is too high in reporting these spots they will remain just as they are unknown.

    In my opinion more locations could easily be found all my captures have been taken without wire as by catch targeting cobia, it seems they frequent these areas as there is a ready food supply, these areas are not dived as there is no structure and the depths aren't sutable thus they would never have been counted in the population records.

    Cheers Samson.
    .

  9. #9

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    The Nationals
    Media release
    5 March 2007
    Fudging Of Grey Nurse Shark Numbers Must Be Investigated

    The Iemma-Costa Labor Government has been busted for fudging the figures on grey nurse shark numbers in its bid to lock up vast areas as marine parks, the Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Duncan Gay said today.

    Mr Gay said an urgent and thorough inquiry was needed to investigate these serious allegations made from within NSW Fisheries.

    “Labor has claimed that because the grey nurse shark is so endangered it needed to ban recreational fishermen from areas now turned into sanctuary zones – a move popular with the Greens,” Mr Gay said.

    “These allegations could prove what the NSW Liberal/Nationals have been saying for some time – that Labor has been creating marine parks to pander to the Greens in the lead up to the election.

    “The marine park creation process should be put on hold because they are being created based on possibly false scientific evidence.

    “For a long time the NSW Liberal/Nationals have held serious concerns about Labor’s marine park creation craze and this information only cements that concern.”

    Mr Gay said the Iemma-Costa Labor Government had claimed for some time that there were as little as 500 grey nurse sharks left in NSW.

    “This information indicates there could be up to 6000 grey nurse sharks – a figure fishermen have been spruiking for years,” Mr Gay said.

    “Marine parks could have been created on false scientific research and that is a very serious issue. There is a reason Labor has buried a survey from late last year that would jeopardise its marine park creation process and put at risk its Greens preferences so close to the election.

    “It is appropriate this information has been passed onto the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). I firmly support this.

    “These are very serious allegations that should be investigated immediately.”

    Media Contact: Duncan Gay 0428 298 137 or Emily Ritchie 0407 287 256

  10. #10

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    Quote Originally Posted by samson View Post
    Under the laws of my line fishing licence i,m supposed to report any sightings of endangered or threatened species in my log book and give exact locations but as all of you know this is not possible unless i cut my own throat and risk losing some of my spots to the greens.

    I would love to give some proof of some grey nurse locations such as photographs which i have but theres to much to risk in doing so. I know of at least three locations on flat gravely bait grounds in 20 fathoms plus well away from any structure that hold big populations of these sharks that i have released this season, in excess of 30 sharks a week sometimes ranging from 5 to 10 feet long of both sexes showing very healthy numbers but as the risk is too high in reporting these spots they will remain just as they are unknown.

    In my opinion more locations could easily be found all my captures have been taken without wire as by catch targeting cobia, it seems they frequent these areas as there is a ready food supply, these areas are not dived as there is no structure and the depths aren't sutable thus they would never have been counted in the population records.

    Cheers Samson.
    .
    What Samson wrote is very important. It is clear that the GNS does not only inhabit shallow reef areas where habitat protection zones have been created.

  11. #11

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    I dont understand why the or how the greens have so much sway over the bettie government when they only got around 6% of the vote. All those who voted for this dick head, go gand give your self an uppercut.

  12. #12

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Heugh View Post
    What Samson wrote is very important. It is clear that the GNS does not only inhabit shallow reef areas where habitat protection zones have been created.
    Scietists who ignore information which does not support their cause, comprmise their profession. I would be surprised if NSW Fisheries chief scientist Steve Kennelly is not aware of MJ Smale's study:"The diet of the ragged-tooth shark Carcharias taurus Rafinesque 1810 in the Eastern Cape, South Africa".

    A scienist who once worked for Commonwealth fisheries and does not wish me to mention his name as his views would compromise the position he now has with NSW Fisheries, told me that the only impact spearfishermen could have on the GNS is that they could be competing for the same food source.

    The only undernourished GNS that I have come accross was restricted in its eating habits by a plastic packaging strap which was stuck around its neck. I helped to free this male shark from the strap.

    If Smale is correct then spearfishermen do not compete for the same food source.
    Smale's study shows from stomach content analyses, that the GNS feeds largely on teleosts and elasmobranchs, although cephalopods are taken to a lesser extent. Clearly the diet of the species consists mainly of squid, cuttlefish and cartalageous species such as other sharks and rays.

    Smale said that both reef-associated species and benthic fishes typical of sandy substrate were included in the diet. Inshore species and those typical deeper shelf waters were taken by the species.

    Smale said that C.taurus appears to prefer to swim around high relief reefs with caves and gullies by day and has inferred that they must also hunt over soft substrates, possibly at night.

    If Smale is correct, then the GNS Habitat zones offer little protecin from recreaional fishermen as they are relaively inactive at these sites whilst occupying them during certain times of the year. They are more likely to be accidentally caught whilst foraging for food in deeper water away from these sites at night.

    Most of the hibtat zones which have been declared and closed to recreational fishermen are too deep to be seriously infringed upon by freediving spearfishermen, who mainly target pelagic fishes well above the resting sharks in the water column.

    The habitat zones are accessible to scuba divers who find the species of great interest. Commercial scuba diving businesses have over the years flourished around many of the GNS habitat zones which have now been closed to fishermen.

    Australia has the best managed fisheries in the world. It is not out of concern for the fisheries that areas are being closed.

    Green groups, polititions and civil servants scratch each other's backs when it comes to closing areas to recreational fishermen. Increasing their span of control
    and empire building is what motivates fisheries authorities. It is about creating marine reserves and sanctuaries and not about protecting fisheries.

    The authorities chose to mislead the public by creating the impression they are for the good of the planet. What they actually do is not impressive - they treat the symptoms and ignore the cause of percieved problems of over exploitation of natural resources.

    Far more damage is daily being done by a land based human population depositing untreated effluent into the oceans. Combined with silt and excessive nutrients from agriculure and excessive use of fossil fuels, resultant negative influence on the environment through accellerated global warming, and we have the route cause of environment related problems. Too much development and too many people concentrating around towns and cities along the coastline and too much agriculture close to the coast.

    The greens of this world be more producive in their fight for their cause if they were to concentrae on the impact that land basd humans have on the marine environment.

    It won't help their cause if they continue to waste time slapping the few recreational fishermen who spend part of their hard earned recreational time at sea where they float above the ocean floor and catch a few wild fish to eat and thereby assist in taking the pressure off organised agriculture to supply their daily sustinance.

    Vegetarians contribute more to green house emmissions than do fish and meat eaters. They require high energy vegetarian foods which require more nutrients and water than do the average livestock which are bulk feeders but efficient in converting low energy foods.

    Wild animals and fish are efficient converters of plants and lower life forms such as insect species. We should be eating kangaroos and fish in this country and not exporting livestock on ships driven on fossil fuels. We should be uilising in sutu our timber reserves which are renewable and not importing furniture, pulp, paper and rayon from third world countries. Transferring problems will not benefit the net effect we as a species have on this planet.

    I'm sick of getting junk mail from the greens and the WWF advocating we stop harvesting timber whilst we import the same using fossil fuel to get it here.

    We do not reduce our impact on the environment by importing food and fuel from overseas whilst exporting agricultural produce and coal. We only shift the problem of over consumption and increase the net energy usage.

    Sensible management of our economy would be to use coal supplies near the source and create value added industries using clean fuel from coal technology as it becomes available. Away from energy resources such as coal we should be using energy efficient and clean fuels to supply our needs such as nuclear power. We are a long way from being able to supply our energy needs from solar, wind, thermal and tidal sources, etc. of energy.

    The greens wish us to use these sources but have no means to harness sufficient energy from such sources at this stage. They talk about renewable sources of energy but do not want us to utilise the greatest of all available renewable resources at this point in time - plant matter.

    They have yet to realise that we live in a world of dynamic equalibrium and that renewable resources such as sunlight and air are converted into usable forms of energy through nature in the form of plant and animal life. Plants and animals have a life cycle that ends whether or not they are consumed in the process. If not consumed in the process and utilised by various species along the way they either burn or grow old and die. Eiher they burn and/or get converted after death by gas producing micro fauna, or they get used by us along the way producing the same amont of recyclable gas. Most of the carbon produced by plant and animal life forms is recycled - unlike that from fossil fuels.

    If we utilise these renewable resources we are not adding to the problem of global warming. Using fossil fuels and moving agricultural produce and fish around the globe is the problem we face as we are thereby being energy inefficient - exactly the policy the greens in their ignorance would have us follow!

  13. #13

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    Stuart ,unfortunately it could mean political suicide for a party not to take them seriously.
    All to often policies are created to win over the green vote and commonsense and practicality don't come into the equation.

    cheers Scott

  14. #14

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    Tony,
    a great read, you're clearly very knowledgeable of the subjects you covered.

    my earlier comments on scuba divers and snorkelers related to the mistaken belief GNS were maneaters. During the 60's & 70's they were regularly knocked off by 303 & 12g powerhead wielding divers thinking they were saving unsuspecting swimmers from a horrible mauling or death. Some well known and well regarded diving personalities have admitted as much.
    Thanks again for the post.
    cheers
    Steve

  15. #15

    Re: GNS Endangered. Fact or political Swindle?

    Great Read Tony! So... as one of Australia's foremost freediver and spearfisher people - having much first hand experience regarding what is actually happening "down there". - What can "we" as 'land dwelling humans' do to stop the green tide of incorrect science which has such influence over both politics and the public heart strings?

    How do we show the decision makers that the GNS are not under as much pressure as they claim - without giving away info which will lead them to close additional sites? Or do we just have to bend over and take it?

    The EPA in its Bay review process has already started firing up the PR machine in its attempt to justify more closures - http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/parks_and_...e_marine_park/

    The process is already displaying all the hall marks of a whitewash.

    Adam


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