Home' Ausmarine : December 2009 Contents My wife drives the computer at our house. I never really came
off my "L" plates. Lack of patience evidently determines me a
serious crash risk. Consequently I spend a lot of time at the
library, either borrowing or looking stuff up. For us folk who
are careful with a quid, it's a cheap enough little excursion,
offering as a bonus to the information gathering, the
occasional bit of socialising. During the school holidays, I hit
A lady, paying a swag of late fees and borrowing a mountain of
videos and books for her tribe of squabbling offspring, asked if the
library gave frequent flyer points. I thought that was my
amusement quota for the day. But no. As I browsed through the
large print and video section I fell into casual conversation with
what I think was a young lady looking for Al Gore's film and
anything else revealing the awful truth about the greedy, capitalist,
food producers of the world.
I should have twigged. There it was, an offensive message
on the T-shirt, the hair cropped short on one side, the
body-piercing jewellery. Yep! A final year art student. What
started out as a pleasant and polite little interlude ended up in a
polarising of opinions after I unwisely remarked that fishermen
and farmers knew a fair bit about weather patterns and the
environment. The studied-for degree, I suspect, was not an
English subject because the parting comment proclaimed me
"Just another 'septic in 'DA' Nile".
Being in pretty sound non-infectious condition, and having no
wish to immerse myself in a river full of crocodiles, I assume what
was meant is that I am "a climate sceptic in denial". This is what
passes now as an end argument and is attached to anyone at all
who questions any aspect of the anticipated emissions trading
bonanza, or the catastrophe forecasting currently driving
government job creation around the globe.
Of course the climate is changing. It would be bloody scary if it
wasn't. What remains to be explained is why major polluters
should be allowed to continue polluting without penalty. And why
they should be given, gratis, a wealth of new commodities to buy
and sell in the form of carbon credits -- whatever they are.
From what I am told, the fart from a farmer's cow is an
attributable pollutant. But elephants, whales, or wildlife and
national park inhabitants, including skunks, are fart-tax exempt. I
will leave it to you as to which of that lot you would fancy living
with. You, me and industry-at-large have a duty of care when it
comes to protecting our environment. However, hypocrisy and
opportunism by those trying to board the green gravy train can
only be disclosed by rigorous debate and questioning.
What is wrong with the hard questions? Such as why we are not
seeing similar climate change budget contribution from
governments for reduction and control of the world's forest and
bush fires? They exceed the emissions of industry. Is it because
governments themselves are often the culprits? Being passionate in
defence of a belief, be it mankind's CO2 emissions, creationism, or
a political ideal is fine by me. However, when a challenge to that
belief can only be countered by exciting the emotions of the mob
with scare mongering, character assassination and bribery, I get a
I become even more concerned when I see new departments,
ministerial portfolios, brokerage and paper trading activities hitting
hyper drive. Finally, when the high profile, media managing NGOs
start competing and covertly quarrelling over grants and
government recognition, all the red alert lights start flashing.
So, let's lay the ghost. Asking questions, sorting the fact from
the fiction and identifying self-interest does not equate to being in
denial or refusal to address a problem. It simply means that those
being loud, numerous or fervent doesn't necessarily mean they're
right. The Khmer Rouge, Maoists, Stalinists and Nazis were loud,
numerous and fervent.
One way or another, we will all be affected by a changing
climate and environment. We have a social and civic duty to meet
the needs that arise. That duty includes identifying carpet-baggers,
false prophets and self serving entities. When someone comes
knocking, offering a piece of paper with an allocation of credits on
it, ask just how it will make your operation greener. If they offer to
sell you a few extra polluting entitlements, I suggest you call the
"The grant grabbers and bureaucrats' paradise, a
fishery department with no commercial fishermen"
Today a message came from Cairns Live Prawns proprietor Bill
Izard saying he was tying up his boat and giving the game away. As
I recall, Bill was about the last prawner working from Cairns. I'll
bet there will be a few people at GBRMPA and the Queensland
department having a celebratory drink when they hear that news.
Bill is one of those increasingly rare industry folk prepared to put
his money where his mouth is.
Being a tireless and relentless campaigner against empire
building authorities and industry complacency does not win you a
lot of friends. Often as not, you are labelled a "rat bag". What a
pity we don't have more "rat bags". Then, perhaps, we wouldn't be
in the sorry state we are in. It's the "rat bags" who do things that
the mob say can't be done, who end up being lauded as our
pioneers. Crikey! I even remember a "rat bag" fisherman who
thought he could breed southern blue fin tuna. I wonder what
happened to him...
"The sweet sound of pennies dropping"
It would be nice to think the message is at last reaching the
seafood consuming voters. On Thursday October 22, the Sydney
Morning Herald carried a front page item by Debra Jobson,
revealing the administratively embarrassing amount of our
seafood coming from other countries. The Herald went on to
quote New South Wales figures, supplied to a seminar by Dr
Geoff Allan, Head of the New South Wales Government's
Aquaculture Research Department.
Only 20,000 tonnes of the national 190,000 tonne harvest
comes from New South Wales. Which means, according to the
Herald, that 75 percent of New South Wales consumption is
imported. Dr Allan is rightly critical of our reliance on imports and
calls for more investment in aquaculture.
I don't know how much discussion there was about wild
capture, but if there was, it probably revolved around the world's
over-exploited areas. Australia's shameful under-utilisation is too
career-threatening an issue to raise in open forums. Still, at least
the crazy import imbalance figures made the front page of the
Sydney Morning Herald. It's the sort of media exposure we need.
"A septic in 'DA' Nile"
A personal comment from Ulladulla's very own
Barry McRoberts on Management Matters.
December 2009 AUSMARINE
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