Victorian Marine, estuarine and coastal conservation

Subject: Victorian Marine, estuarine and coastal conservation
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 14:45:16 +1100
Dear all,

I thoroughly support what Stuart Dashper had to say.  Write to
or e-mail the ECC to say you support their report even though
you wish the marine protected areas were larger and the value to
birds given greater weight. Remember the FISH-EATING BIRDS as
well as WADERS.

The angling clubs have been given an extension to 5th March
because of their meeting cycles so they are no doubt going to
flood the ECC with stuff about safe angling, alternative sites,
sites currently no good (e.g because of silt within Port hillip
Bay or  invasive species)...

IGNORE all that.  The point is that only 0.05% of Victorian
waters are currently protected from depredations and what is
good for marine life is fundamentally good for birds.  Most
fisherpeople will benefit from protection of fish breeding

But DO worry about the fish farming ("aquaculture") proposals.
The devastation of fish stocks from SA to NSW in two recent
years and the subsequent effects on penguins has been
investigated.  As I understand it, the scientists have said in a
careful way that they cannot rule out the possibility that it
was caused by imported fish meal and that no other possible
cause other than some indigenous virus.

This is part of the question "how do you stock and grow fish in
fish farms ?".  By catching fish and feeding them (and adding
nutrients in the process).  There are "closed-cycle" options  -
land-based fish farming, but this should not be allowed to take
Ramsar sites and other wetlands.  Shellfish farming is different
because in general nutrients are removed (a good thing in
enclosed bays with sewage inputs like Port Phillip).

The risk of disease is set to one side in the ECC report because
protocols are being developed.  IGNORE that.  Our seabirds
(gannets, jaegers, albatrosses....) and dolphins, particularly
in Port Phillip and Westernport, will be in danger of fish
diseases if ANY finfish farming is permitted.   Oil spills, in
my opinion, are a far less significant and long-lasting danger
to ecosystems.

And for you Melbourne people there is are more parochial points
which Stuart may not know about.  Support the marine sanctuaries
at Williamstown and Ricketts Point (the best spot for waders on
the east of the bay).  Also back the ECCs proposed extensions of
Coastal Protection Zones (areas where coast development is
discouraged) in Port Phillip.

If you want any detail, e-mail me or phone on 9521 6879 or
(failing that) 9598 3092.

And if you are interested in learning about or monitoring marine
life in the proposed Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary there are
fossickings and meetings, based around the Beaumaris Life Saving
Club, tomorrow (Friday) at 6.30pm onwards and around midday on
26 March.

Michael Norris

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