Greetings The Beagle Editor,
I submit the following as a response to Dr Elek’s article regarding the ‘paddle out event’. In fact I didn’t see Dr. Elek at this event.
Paddle out’ event NOT supported by Narooma locals:
Dr Elek has not quite reported the event as it happened:
The meeting with Mr Wilmott on the Friday made NO mention of a blockade of the event, either by those present or any other groups ... absolutely none. The meeting was organized to clear the air on the 1.5km exclusion zone around Montague Island.
At the event at the Bar Beach netted carpark and beach the ‘people with alternative views’ were all locals from Narooma. This group did NOT support the return of the six zones to ‘no take’ areas. The ‘paddle out’ group (about 100), who appeared to be mostly activated by social media and down from Canberra for the Canberra day long weekend. One of the ‘paddle out’ group decided she would give our group a lecture on the benefit of sanctuary zones, which went on and on … and on. She was given as good as she gave.
After the lecture the President of Nature Coast Marine Group (NCMG), Dane Wilmot walked over to another member of the NCMG, myself and another and said he had rung the police as the ‘paddle out’ member doing the lecturing was being intimidated … we couldn’t believe it. Twenty minutes later three police did arrive and enjoyed a half hour or so in the sun. There were NO police on police boats.
The 1.5km exclusion zone around Montague Island WAS on the table in 2004 when the Nature Conservation Council and National Parks Association ACTIVELY campaigned the then Labor Government ... despite Labor's desire to hold onto Sydney seats it wasn't acted on at that time. If it was this would have destroyed Narooma’s recreational and commercial fishing.
The reason given by Dr Elek for ‘sanctuary zones' ('no take' zones) is not correct in the NSW context. Marine Parks are established to CONSERVE marine biodiversity, NOT as a fishery management tool. No take zones are useful as a fishery management tool in unsustainably fished areas of the world. Australia has one of the most heavily regulated fisheries in the world, providing a sustainably fished resource for those Australians who do not fish. The Nature Coast Marine Group and other extreme conservation groups believe that ‘no take’ zones will ‘save the oceans’. Pollution in all its forms is correctly identified as the MAJOR threat to NSW state waters. No thought is given to even identifying the effects of pollution or controlling it in any form. The selection of photos below show an unknown ‘white froth’ from the stormwater drain near Narooma Pool, May 2022. Running into Wagonga inlet, 200m from the Oyster rehabilitation area.
The six sanctuary zones, indeed the 20 estuarine sanctuary zones within the Batemans Marine Park, have NEVER been scientifically assessed either before or after the Batemans Marine Park was established in December 2005. They were simply lines drawn on a map. Fishers actively lobbied to have these safe areas returned. After 12 years that eventuated as an election promise by Andrew Constance prior to the March 2019 state election.
Narooma Port Committee
Chair – Dr. Philip Creagh, BVSc, CQCVMA
Secretary - John Moore
PO Box 596,
Narooma, NSW, Australia