Batemans Marine Park – A Superior Community Driven Alternative To Managing Our Local Marine Estate Rebuilding Community TRUST & OUR Marine Environment.
To Premier Berejiklian and Ministers Constance, Kean, Marshall and the Community.
In 1998 the Australian Government made a commitment to the United Nations that a certain percentage Australian waters was to become Marine Protected Areas which had Sanctuary Zones that fishing could not be practiced. Fast forward to 2006 the NSW government of the day proceeded with an authoritarian approach to establishing the Batemans Marine Park as part of meeting NSW’s commitment to the federal government.
Early 2006, a short time of only weeks ideologically driven bureaucrats disguised in casual fishing clothing met with local fishers to consult with them. The government representatives engaged the local fishers claiming they were there to help them, that they would be performing large amounts of scientific research creating a big picture baseline for the community that would be published in an transparent way to justify locking out fishers with Sanctuary Zones. All local fishers had to do was share their fishing spots with them and they would do their best to make sure those fishing locations did not become locked up.
Many local fishermen freely gave their spots under the belief the government representatives were there to help make their fishing better. Large marine maps were spread out over tables at various meeting locations like the Soldiers club and locals freely pointing out where they preferred to fish. Little did they know what was about to happen.
Within weeks maps were in the public domain and the local fishing community was outraged. It was not hard to see the information the locals offered in good faith was used against them. To this day words like tricked, swindled, underhanded, corrupt, and ideological extremists with power are still used by the local fishing community describing their complete distrust of the unelected government officials that still operate today.
TRUST, it all comes back to Trust and world views or ideologies.
Most local recreational and commercial fishers have different levels of distrust of government departments, particularly the Fisheries and Environment departments because of the way the marine park was introduced and they still have not produced a baseline or any local research used to create a big picture baseline. Also, there is growing distrust of local conservational groups because of information coming to light that large extreme conservational groups are providing support to local efforts and scuttlebutt describing these groups are working closely with state government officials that are charged with managing our marine estate.
CONVERSLEY, the local conservational groups distrust fishers as they believe their activities are counter productive to conserving our local marine estate. They also distrust government much like the fishers, believing the government uses illegal or ineffective decision-making processes while being in bed with the fishing community.
EQUALLY, government departments, essentially a small group of bureaucrats distrust the various local stakeholder groups believing they are incapable of managing or making decisions that benefits the marine estate or community meaning they believe they are the most appropriate overseers. Hence, the government department’s consultation, engagement and decision-making processes are the way they are – poorly communicated, political, ineffective, biased with a lack of transparency.
Then there is the COMMUNITY in general with all the other stakeholder groups. They have become polarised by the argument and disenfranchised with entire process fuelling distrust across the board.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO REBUILD TRUST AND FIX THE SITUATION?
The fishing community in partnership with governments, international conservation organisations and independent experts have been quietly constructing and piloting cutting edge state of the art new technologies and programs designed to provide the data needed to manage our local marine estate effectively and sustainably.
These new technologies are non-invasive, big data collection tools that capture an enormous array of information such as ultra-high definition habitat mapping and biomass surveying, human activity monitoring and citizen science-based data. The technologies have been produced in such a way to remove all bias using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning constructing a BIG PICTURE baseline driven by the COMMUNITY to the point it provides almost all the data government currently needs to fulfill their legislated objectives at significantly less cost than currently to the taxpayer on a scale government simply cannot compete with.
The government departments have had nearly 15 years to provide a local baseline or any local research for that matter and that is all we have asked for. So how can they compete against a community drive alternative that once it is turned on will continue to provide big data day after day, year after year. It will be processed unbiasedly by artificial intelligence and published regularly in an aggregated and deidentified manner to protect people’s personal information.
The community can make well informed management decisions in a co-management arrangement which engenders TRUST and reinforces the community’s sense of stewardship enabling all of us to move forward.
Premier Berejiklian and Minister Constance, I shook your hands two years ago celebrating the milestone of improving the local marine estate with the announcement of the Eurobodalla’s artificial reefs going ahead which was a great step forward to gain the local recreational fishing community’s trust. I understand the most senior people within NSW Government are tired of the marine park debate and NSW Treasury has passed the message on they don’t really have the funds to manage the marine estate using the current bureaucracy process.
I am extending to you a World First novel community driven alternative management system with the following win, win, win:
· Cost significantly less to the taxpayer and less pressure on the state budget
· Engenders TRUST
· Increases marine based tourism, jobs and local economies
· On a scale that is world first
· It is a novel management model using state of the art technology
· Very low risks
· Provides almost all the information required to create a big picture baseline which continually updates in near real time
· Meets all the legislated objectives of government
· Gives the opportunity for the community to have real and meaningful contribution to monitoring and managing our marine estate in a co-management arrangement
· Increases stewardship
· Ensures we all manage the marine environment effectively and sustainably for generations to come
Be the first to take this on before some other government recognises the many benefits because it is the way of the future. It’s happening elsewhere in Australia and the world very successfully but not on the scale the NSW community needs. Adam Martin Euro Fishing Association | President
ANSA NSW | State Recorder, Membership officer & South Coast Angel Ring Rep
ARFF | Manager
RFANSW | Treasurer
OzFish Eurobodalla Chapter President