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Publication No.VBP 2846.
More depressing news about the Australian fishing industry passed over my desk just
before I wrote this in the first week of September.
The first, and most distressing item was in the form of a letter from an old friend,
Brian Bienke Snr. Brian has spent more than half a century in the East Coast and
Northern Prawn fisheries. Indeed, he was one of the real pioneers of the Gulf fishery.
Brian, followed by his son, Brian Jnr and his wife Irene have done well from the
fishing industry but they have also contributed strongly to it. They have been heavily
involved in industry association and management committee affairs, among others.
Their family company, Adele Fisheries, is the quintessential long-term, sustainable,
environmentally sound operation of which there are many in the industry.
Sadly, though, Brian Snr advised me that, after more than fifty years, the Bienke
family had been forced out of the industry. They have sold their magnificent boat to
Spencer Gulf and will now just be passive investors in property.
Their departure from the industry they know and love has been caused, almost
completely, by the depredations of the malevolent, envious bureaucrats who now control
the industry. They not only control it but are relentlessly eliminating the industry
following their own economically and culturally destructive, barely hidden agenda.
The Bienkes were a tough, strong and resourceful family. That even they have been
driven out shows what the wider industry is up against. Their departure from the
industry will benefit no one except, perhaps, the lucky buyer of their boat.
Next was more bad news from the Western Rock Lobster Fishery, of which you will
learn more next month. My colleague, Dr Walter Starck, has been retained by a group
of Western Australian lobster fishermen to assist them in fighting a government
proposed "effort reduction". This, if it is allowed to proceed will put even more
fishermen out of business.
Again, the rationale of the responsible bureaucrats is "scientific". As Dr Starck is
revealing to the industry and the Western Australian Government, that "science" is not
only spurious but very carelessly applied. Yet again, the real agenda of the bureaucrats
concerned is not terribly well concealed. The elimination of another highly productive
sector of the fishing industry appears to be a major objective.
Finally, a press release arrived from the indefatigable Senator Ron Boswell. Senator
Boswell is one the fishing industry's rare friends in the Federal Parliament.
Senator Boswell warns the industry to be alert to the Federal Government's East
Coast Marine Bioregional Planning process. The East Coast Marine Bio-region covers 2.4
million square kilometres and includes all Commonwealth waters from the eastern side
of Cape York to the New South Wales -- Victorian border.
We used to joke that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)
believed that the Barrier Reef extended from Daru to Coolangatta. This unfortunately is
no joke and their grasping is far worse than anyone ever imagined.
In cahoots with the extremist American based PEW Environment group, the green
zealots of GBRMPA are now obviously hoping to totally eliminate the vital food
producing fishing industry from the entire eastern side of Australia and well out to sea
This is all extremely distressing news. The Federal and state governments tend to
believe the green zealots because they hear no contrary argument from the fishing
industry. A small group of Western Australian lobstermen are uniting and fighting with
assistance from Dr Starck. Most others, unfortunately, remain supine.
The simple fact is that if you don't fight, you lose. Australia needs a strong
prosperous fishing industry. That is important for a host of well known reasons. The
industry must support Senator Boswell and do so quickly. If it doesn't there will be very
little left of the industry in as few as three years. That would be very sad indeed.
Fishing's future is even bleaker
EDITORIAL OCTOBER 2009
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