Marine Parks


There are few certainties in life, but it used to be that you could rely on there being plenty of fish in the sea.

Increasingly, and sadly, that is no longer the case.

Pollution is responsible for some of the drastic drop in marine life, but overfishing is by far the biggest threat.

Eighty per cent of the world's fish stocks are either being fished to their absolute limit or are already overfished.

Global catches peaked in the late 1980s, and have fallen drastically ever since.

The numbers have not fallen because the world's fishing nations have acknowledged the problem and resolved to do something about it.

No, the catch is falling because fish numbers have fallen so dramatically.

Ninety per cent of big species such as bluefin tuna, swordfish and sharks are already gone.

Not that you would know this from the actions of the Liberals and Nationals, and the Shooters Party.

Listening to them you'd think the seas are still teeming with fish.

The Honourable Robert Brown proposed a moratorium on marine national parks, and was supported by the Honourable Duncan Gay on behalf of the Opposition.

On the 11th of November, in this place, The Hon Duncan Gay alleged that the Government's decision not to support the Marine Parks Amendment (Moratorium) Bill was, "in fact, a dodgy deal for the Greens to support the Government's election funding bill".

There is not a skerrick of truth in the allegation. 

The Hon Duncan Gay simply made it up.

There was no deal, dodgy or otherwise.

The truth, to paraphrase Tony Blair, is far worse: we in the Labor Party support marine parks because we believe in them.  

The Marine Parks Act 1997 has as its principal objectives the protection of marine biodiversity, ecological processes and marine habitats while at the same time allowing recreational and commercial activities within marine parks that do not violate those primary objectives. 

This is a plainly stated aim, simple enough for even the Liberals, Nationals and Shooters to understand. Or so you would think.

But this cretinous cabal, through lies, outlandish distortions and blatant scaremongering, seek to portray themselves as the heroes of the hour, saving fish for recreational and commercial fishing.

The truth is their ideas would achieve exactly the opposite.

Their plans would allow for carte blanche overfishing and the ultimate collapse of marine life.

Where would the fishermen be then?