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Old 08-23-2007, 05:00 AM   #1
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Very interesting blog entry by Billabong

http://svbillabong.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-23-2007, 05:30 AM   #2
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From the blog:

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And now we understand why we aren't catching any fish in Indonesia - the locals are stunning the fish (yes, with live, exploding bombs), and then diving in and scooping them up! Now don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of one getting an easy, full meal, but isn't that just a tad-bit overkill???
Now that must be the understatement of the century. A tad? A TAD????

What happens when the locals use explosives for fishing is that the certainly get and easy meal....once! This method of fishing is highly illegal and not without reason. What happens is that the fish you want are killed and you scoop them up but along with those the juveniles are kiled, the molluscs are killed, the cephlapods are killed and the reef is killed. The entire biotorp is switched off for years. Coral reefs may never recover, ever.

This type of activity is very prevelant in the Far East and other parts of Asia. IMHO, anyone caught "fishing" using explosives or poisons (yes, they use those too; cyanide for preferance) should be hung, drawn and quartered before being fed to the fish as a form of poetic justice.

Aye

Stephen
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Old 08-23-2007, 06:43 AM   #3
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From the blog:

Now that must be the understatement of the century. A tad? A TAD????

Stephen
Indonesia does not come near the Philippines in destroying their reefs , the fish life, the corals - in many areas the seas are but a watery desert denuded of life.

Dynamite rules - but poverty doesn't get any better. The Philippines could probably sustain a population of no more than 10 millions - defacto they have populated their islands with 91,077,287 (July 2007 est.) It is already August ! (80 million of whom are poorer than church mice !)

Whose doctrine brought this about ??

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Old 08-23-2007, 08:31 AM   #4
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Indonesia does not come near the Philippines in destroying their reefs
The problem with explosive fishing is very much spread over the entire Far East. Of course, some countries will be worse than others and some will not experience this at all (Singapore, Malaysia?), China even has problems with it in inland waterways where dynamiting happens on rivers too.

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The Philippines could probably sustain a population of no more than 10 millions
Overpopulation of coastal areas by poor communities is often rightly cited as the root of the problem. It is an issue which can not be solved by fisheries legislation alone but requires a far greater socio-economic input. It also need rich first world countries to keep their fish factory vessels in their home waters and not depleting third world protein resources for the benefit of luxury consumption. For example, fish which can feed coastal populations in Thailand are being ground into pellets to feed prawns in fish farms. The prawns are then sold to the west. Even worse, the pellets are also exported to Japan to feed farmed tuna.

Sure, you may be able to feed your family today by explosive fishing but there will be nothing left for them to eat tomorrow. The facts about dynamite fishing are:

• Destroys habitat. Destructive fishing destroys the habitat where reef animals live and breed and overfishing disrupts the ecological food chain. Recovery, if possible, may take decades.

• Inhibits the growth of new corals. The sediment left behind from blast fishing makes it difficult for juvenile corals to settle and grow.

• Reduces fish stocks. A loss in the number of fish due to overfishing and/or habitat destruction can lead to fewer fish and reduces the ability of fish to reproduce. A significant number of non-targeted species are also killed through destructive fishing.

• Disrupts the food web and ecosystem balance. By reducing or removing a specific species, overfishing changes the coral reef food web. For example, removing an algae eating species, like parrot fish, could create conditions where algae may replace corals.

• The cost of exploitive fishing to society is overwhelming when measured by loss of potential income from sustainable fisheries and tourism, coastal protection and lives.

• Loss of fishery jobs & income. A sustainable fishery can produce jobs for approximately 10,000 Indonesian fishers for many years and generate upwards of US $321.8 million in income over a 25-year period (Cesar, 1997). When harvested sustainably, live fish from a healthy coral reef in Southeast Asia can yield up to 0.55 to 1.1 tons per year with an annual net benefit of US $2,500–$5,000 per square kilometer (0.3 square nautical miles). However, the pervasiveness of overfishing in Indonesia results in massive societal loss, estimated at US $1.9 billion over twenty years (White, 1998).

• Loss of coastal protection and tourism. For example, in Indonesia the net cost from loss of coastal protection and tourism is US $46 million over a 25-year horizon (Pet-Soede, 2000).

• Loss of lives. Bombs can explode prematurely and result in severe injury and death.

Makes one wonder where it all will end.

Aye

Stephen
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:37 AM   #5
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Illegal fishing by Indonesian fishermen in Australia's waters is a fact of life. The fishermen are generally from poverty sricken communities and generally are chasing sharks by conventional, single line methods.

I have no particular concern about this as Australia can afford minor incursions. Recently however, there have been rumours that reef fish have been targetted at Ashmore Reef by Indons using 'expanding' bait.

The difficulty is in educating people about sustaining the resource. It is no different to large game poaching in Africa...It is equally irresponsible, finite and repugnant.

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Old 08-23-2007, 10:16 AM   #6
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I have no particular concern about this as Australia can afford minor incursions.
A mate of mine from Broome is a fisheries officer. I don't think he would quite agree with you on this one David. He has told me on several occasions that Oz authorities arrest Indonesian fishermen, they are prosecuted, end up (sometimes) in gaol and then are repatriated.

Despite Australia being a wealthy nation, I am sure the money spent on chasing these poachers, prosecuting them, holding court hearings, housing and feeding them throughout this process and their prison time thereafter as well as the trip back to Indonesia could be far better spent on other things such as schooling and health care, or maybe on infra-structure and socio-economic projects in Indonesia which could benefit the entire community.

Apparantly the poachers when in Australian prisons were given work for which they were paid a salary. This salary was far better than what they would have been making in Indonesia so that when they left Australia they even had money in their pockets.

As far as I can see it, poaching by Indonesian fishermen in Australian waters is a win-win situation for the fishermen and a loose-loose situation for Australia. If caught, the fishermen are fed, housed and paid. If they get away with the poaching they make some money too. As for Australia, the country either looses fish or money.

One day, maybe, fishermen will understand that the resources of the sea are communal propperty and they do not have the exclusive right to kill as much as possible in a short time as possible for the sake of short-term material gain. Only fly in that ointment is that by the time they get the point the resources will probably have dwindled into extinction.

Sorry to keep harping on about this but my cage is rattled!

Aye

Stephen
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:05 AM   #7
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It is no different to large game poaching in Africa...It is equally irresponsible, finite and repugnant.
Actually, it is worse because not only are the targeted species being wiped out but also all other living organisms in the area. But it does not stop there because the habitat is being destroyed too.

What is needed is education and the formation of huge no-take areas. We have done this ashore. There are wildlife parks, sanctuaries and game reserves in many places but in the entire ocean, which remember covers 72% of the globe, the total size of no-take areas is no greater than that of Holland!! You probably have bigger sheep stations in Australia.

The bottom line is too little fish and too many boats. We have to cut back fishing effort drastically and NOW, before it is too late otherwise our grand-children will never see a fish except for a few species which can be farmed. In my opinion, only two countries, Iceland and New Zealand, are doing a good job in looking after their marine living resources but even those two countries have a lot of room for improvement. Fisheries management should really be called people management as managing fisheries has more to do with the management of fishermen and consumers than the management of fish.

Aye

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Old 08-23-2007, 01:27 PM   #8
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I reiterate, I abhor large scale, organised, high-tech illegal fishing in Australian waters. However, irrespective of the law and the people who we pay to enforce those laws, there is a deeper issue concerning illegal Indonesian fishing in Australian waters.

Currently there are 15 Indonesian boats in Darwin Harbour, all of which were brought in after being boarded and suspected of illegally fishing in Australian waters. All of these boats are from remote Indonesian islands which are inhabited by people who are barely able to exist. If the crews are found guilty, their boats will be incinerated. This will compound the poverty of the communities whose only economic possessions, are these craft. And some people complain that we send these paupers home with a full belly and a pocketful of change!

When I stated in my above post that I do not mind 'minor incursions', this what I meant. These people have been fishing these waters, sustainably, for centuries. These are their traditional waters. They established trade with Aboriginal settlements, dug huge fresh water wells which are still used today and which are still surrounded by tamarind trees which they planted long before white settlement.

These waters were never fished by aboriginal fishermen. Indeed, the Indonesian fishermen only became 'illegals' when the Australian government expanded our borders to protect our new fishing industry at the expense of these desparately poor people from islands which few people have ever heard of, or care about.

If floating factories from Argentina come hunting patagonian toothfish, if Japanese whalers encroach on our waters, if long liners and factory fleets from Indonesia come in to poach in Australian waters, we should capture, prosecute them and confiscate their boats and equipment. I am worried about the 700 tons of discarded nets which have washed up on the Northern Territory's shoreline this year alone...and I wish our navy, fisheries and customs patrols would find and impound these rapists of the oceans. In a street level context, we are capturing dope smokers, but letting the heroin dealers get away.

But when uneducated, unsophisticated people with traditions far older than our federation, whose impact on our edible fish stocks is so small as to be unmeasurable, are further disadvantaged by the imposition of new territorial borders which they do not understand, I feel that is immoral. And despite all the officers who rail against these 'pirates', I believe Australia as a nation, is better than that.

Northern Australia is more a part of South East Asia than most people realise. We don't need foreign conglomerates 'strip farming' our seas, but, we need to be good neighbours to people who in absolute reality are only just over the horizon.

David.
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Old 08-23-2007, 02:05 PM   #9
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That is a point well noted David. I agree with you.

Marine conservation is always a top priority for me, but sadly, for some people the top and most urgernt priority is to feed their family. In no means am I supporting the actions of the Indonesians, but what I am trying to say is that we should try and solve the source of the problem, and that is the "famine" in these poor villages and by that reducing the "Illegal fishing". Another solution would be employing poor Indonesian fishermen on "legal" Aussie fishing boats.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 08-23-2007, 02:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nausikaa View Post
One day, maybe, fishermen will understand that the resources of the sea are communal propperty and they do not have the exclusive right to kill as much as possible in a short time as possible for the sake of short-term material gain. Only fly in that ointment is that by the time they get the point the resources will probably have dwindled into extinction.
Agree entirely. Even more worrying is the picture presented if we generalise your point by substituting the sense of "oil/gas or other natural resources" for "fish".

As Aussie says, if we really want to deal with the problem, we must address our inexplicable tolerance of those making a good living from their irresponsible behaviour be it fishing, mining or whatever! There's no justification whatsoever in making an example of/further degrading the poor sod's who are simply trying to survive!

See ya!
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Old 08-23-2007, 02:55 PM   #11
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When I stated in my above post that I do not mind 'minor incursions', this what I meant. These people have been fishing these waters, sustainably, for centuries.
You are absolutely right David. And, if this is the case, then in international law these people have an historic claim to that fishery. Of course, they probably don't know that and even if they do they will not have the money to pursue the issue in international courts.

As a rule, artisanal fisheries do not cause too much damage. I say as a rule because there are exceptions to that statement, such as in Yemen where artisanal fishermen have almost wiped out the stocks of cuttlefish and sharks. (Incidentally, whislt the artisanal fishermen are wiping out the coastal fisheries the big boys are wiping out the offshore fisheries. Japan and Yemen last year reached agreement to give 20 Japanese long-liners access to Yemeni waters to fish for tuna. 90 long liners means 1,800 NM of fishing line which will mean that there will be about 2 million hooks in the water!!! And that is just in little Yemen)

What often is more environmentally harmful is the clearing or killing of mangroves. Sure, people want to get rid of the bugs that inhabit these areas but in clearing out mangroves they are also ripping out the nurseries for many species of fish.

Where artisanal fishermen do cause untold damage on a wider scale is when they use explosives or poisons. There should be no pardon for such egoistic, selfish, short-sighted and abhorent behaviour.

I also agree with you regarding the big guys. Illegal fishing as well as the equaly parlous setting of unsustainably high fishing quotas has been and still is causing untold damage in most parts of the world. We have seen this on the Grand banks when the Canadian cod stocks were decimated and reduced to levels far below what is necessary to retain a breeding stock. We are seeing it in the Southern Ocean with toothfish stocks under very severe threat. We have seen it in the North and Baltic Seas where cod again is way below safe biological limits. We don't know (because we just don't have the sientific evidence) but orange roughy, black scabbard and other slow maturing, long-lived, deep living, cold-water species are also believed to be in serious trouble. Stocks of most tuna species are shockingly low as are swordfish, marlin and many sharks. Who is to blame? Government in rich developed countries for not stopping their vessels from raping the seas. Which countries? Well, I would say Japan, China, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, Spain, France and to a lesser extent, as the countries are less affluent, Uraguay, Belize and Panama. The flag state is always resposible for the activities of their vessels even on the high seas - but how many countries actualy matle that responsibility?

Governments are also responsible because they approach poorer African and Asian countries offering them aid packages and then want to talk about access agreements for their fishing fleets. No access agreement - no aid! What is the poor country to do; especially when a slice of the action could be passed in a plain brown evelope under the table to a government official who is relatively well off anyway and can afford to buy fish a world market prices?

No, fishing is rotten to the core. Something has to be done about it now becuase it is soon going to be too late. We are already at the point where no amount of political bulls**t will help. To save the resources for generations to come we must stop illegal, unreported and un-regulated fishing. We must also ban environmentally hazardous fishing methods such as bottom-trawling. Dumping of bi-catches must be stopped (FAO reckon that 30% of all fish caught is dumped because they are not the targeted species) We must stop thinking in terms of fisheries management and start thinking of coastal zone management. We must also stop setting rediculously high quotas. We, the consumers, must also ensure that the fish we buy is caught in a sustainable manner.

Sorry for the rant but this issue REALLY gets me wound up!!

Aye // Stephen
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Old 08-23-2007, 03:23 PM   #12
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. Perhaps OZ should just sink the poachers boats & take their crew back into Indonesian waters??? Of course, I assume that any such act would most likely breach sections of International law.
The precident for what is permitted under international law was established in the case of the United States vs. United Kingdom (in respect of Canada) when the British (Canadian) ship I'm alone was sunk by US Coast Guard vessel. The vessel was engaged in smuggling spirits into the U.S. during prohibition. What was permitted, in the way of force, was upheld in a decision regarding another British vessel, the fishing vessel Red Crusader.

Red Crusader, was fishing in a prohibited zone off Fζrψ in 1961. The Red Crusader was observed by the Danish F.P.V. Niels Ebbesen and boarded by Lt. Beech and a boarding party. The vessel was then ordered to proceed to Thorshaven. Initially, the vessel set course towards the port but at some point decided to proceed to Aberdeen instead effectively taking Lt. Beech and 2 sailors hostage.

The Niels Ebbeson opened fire on the fleeing Red Crusader which was met when she entered British waters by a British F.P.V. The British FPV placed herself between the two vessels protecting the Red Crusader. Despite attempts to keep her afloat the Red Crusader sank from the damage inflicted upon her by the Danish F.P.V.s shells

A joint British – Danish Commission of Inquiry found that
  • The circumstances could not justify such violent actions and other means should have been found to…..stop or revert to normal procedure.
  • The action of the British F.P.V. was commended
.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 08-23-2007, 03:36 PM   #13
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It seems to me this is the subject worth global concern.
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Old 08-23-2007, 08:23 PM   #14
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We must also ban environmentally hazardous fishing methods such as bottom-trawling.

Not all bottom trawling causes damage. "Heavy gear" bottom trawling will cause damage if done over a rocky seabed etc, whereas "light gear" bottom trawling will likely cause damage to the net & may result in the lost of the net (incl its many floats & any electronic senders etc). If the net is lightly damaged, it will most likely take several hours or a day to repair/stich. Worse damage will likely require the use of a wharf/shed to "spread out" the net for repair/stitching.


True. The worst forms of bottom trawling are trawling with heavy bobbins, chains and foot ropes. Beam trawling is also very destructive but is only done on soft bottoms such as sand and mud. The problem with heavy bottom gear is that it crushes almost everything in its path and cuts through coral forrests. One sweep with a trawl can end 500 years of coral growth.

Regarding beam trawlers, the jury is still out on that one. Some say that churning up the sea bed is good for it claiming it is comparable to plowing a field. Others say it is the exact opposite.



Dumping of bi-catches must be stopped (FAO reckon that 30% of all fish caught is dumped because they are not the argeted species)

While this figure may be correct in some parts of the world. In NZ, the "waste catch" was more likely to be no more than 15-20% p/bottom trawl-

The key here is to create a commercial benefit for the "waste catch". Eg: on one long liner, I would keep keep all heads of cleaned (head & gutted) fish to be freezed as crayfish (lobster) bait for use during our crayfish season. However, this involved an agreement with the shore based fish processing plant (whom we sold fish to) to pack & freeze our bait for several months. Subject to "commercial viability", I'm sure that other similar things could be done in the fishing industry, i.e. use "waste catch" for processing animal foods, fish oil etc.


The 30% figure is a global average. If you have a use for bi-catches that's not so bad. Generally though, the use of BRDs (Bi-Catch Reduction Devices) is a far better alternative.

[i]stop setting rediculously high quotas.

I assume you're in reference to countries other than Iceland & NZ??? I can say that the NZ quota system is (or was) that if the fish quota's were not meet in an area for a certain specie for two straight years, then that specie of that quota area was subject to significant quota cuts.[/i
]

Absolutely true. There is an excellent example of that right on my doorstep. A number of years ago scientists (ICES) recommended a zero quota for Baltic cod. When the politicians had churned it over and given in to the lobbyists from the fishing industry we ended up with a 60,000 ton quota. In reallity, probably aout 100,000 tons were fished up. That is one huge difference between a proposed zero quota and 100,000 tons of catches!

Aye // Stephen
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