>
 
FishingBoating-World.com
 
 
News Home Newsletters Photo Gallery Powerboat-World Australian Cruising World Cruising MarineBusiness-World Animated Knots
Video Gallery MarineBusiness-World
Sail-World.com : Death of a Town: Marine Park's 'devastating' impact on Batemans Bay
Death of a Town: Marine Park's 'devastating' impact on Batemans Bay

'Batemans Bay 1'    . ©    Click Here to view large photo

Esmay Hropic is the face of marine parks’ impact on our commercial fishing and prawning industry. Her entire town, Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast, is in crisis – and that’s not too extreme a word for it.

The servo has closed, various other shops and essential stores, the iconic saw mill – the other main industry around which the town was created – has also closed.

'To say Batemans Bay is dying is no exaggeration,' she says. 'For 100 years, fishing, farming and forestry are the life blood of this region and they are all suffering because our seas have wrongly been declared no-take zones.'

Batemans Marine Park was established by the New South Wales government in 2006 and covers 85,000 hectares, extending from Murramarang Beach near Batemans Bay in the north to Wallaga Lake near Tilba Tilba in the south. It stretches to three miles offshore and includes all the estuaries, creeks, rivers and lakes (except Nargal Lake) within the Eurobodalla region.

According to Esmay and a host of professors and academics, including Emeritus Professor Robert Kearney and Ray Hilborn is a Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, the decision to lock up their particular marine park is based on flawed science.

Long Beach Batemans Bay -  .. ©   Click Here to view large photo


'Our area is a traditionally recognised prawn trawl ground. It’s a soft sandy bottom with crashing rolling waves – there’s no sea grass at all and never has been because of the way it’s formed. There are no reefs where we trawl and we’re only out there for 30 minute shots, meaning they lift the nets up, put the prawns in ice water and then cast the nets out for another half hour shot.'

They are not set on auto pilot and they don’t leave nets in for long stints.

According to Esmay, and supported by the local Member, Andrew Constance, who presented this view in state parliament, a major change from the 2006 draft was the complete removal of commercial trawling from the park.

'The corresponding section in Marine Parks Amendment (Batemans) Regulation 2006, the public consultation draft, contains no mention of trawling. It just appeared and we had to accept it.'

The buyout that ensued, which Esmay describes as 'compulsory acquisition' forced commercial fishers to hand over their livelihoods for a meagre $60,000 in compensation.

'Which is nothing when you consider the cost of a boat and all the equipment they carry. These are professional operations, not one man and his dog!'

Esmay is third generation professional prawner, while her husband, Emil and his family have been prawning and fishing for more than 50 years, and before migrating here, they were fishers in Croatia.

'We have a huge investment in modern technology, the latest methods and equipment. We still have a single boat, the ‘Mary Alice’, and our licenses, even though the boat is idle and we are locked out of the main prawning zone of Long Beach.'

Esmay Hropic - professional prawner -  Jeni Bone   Click Here to view large photo


Esmay estimates her family alone is losing $150,000 each season. The effect on the town of Batemans Bay, the closest beachside town to the nation’s capital Canberra, is immense.

'Tourists flow through town all year round and they ask for local seafood. We can help them with fish, which we catch 125kms from here, but we have to tell them there are no local prawns.'

What we consume in Australia, reveals Esmay, and with an ever increasing appetite, is massive quantities of largely unregulated foreign prawns – 446,000kg in 2011, up by 10% on the year prior.

'They are cheap, mostly unregulated from China, Thailand and Vietnam. Importers only have to provide testing on batches, so who knows what we are eating! In Vietnam, according to scientists at Sydney Uni, there is definite evidence of Agent Orange leaching from soils in to waterways and seafood could well be tinged by that.'

In contrast, Batemans Bay, the jewel in the crown of 'Eurobodalla Natural Coast', is as pristine an environment as nature serves up. Clyde River oysters are acclaimed by gourmands as equal to the best in the world.

Just 280km from Sydney and 146km from Canberra, Batemans Bay has been long known as the holiday coast for visitors looking for a leisurely pace and a wholly marine-themed holiday. It’s home to 16,000 people, the majority of whom are engaged in the three main activities which once drove the region’s economy.

'Today, it’s a ghost town. Maybe people driving through don’t notice, but tourists who stay a while feel it because many essential services are shut down,' Esmay reports.

'One of the first things to go was Harbour Marine, the ships chandlery on the marina which used to sell diesel and bait. That was a huge loss. One service station closed down, the Go-Lo chain store shut, Ned Kelly Bargains another discount store, which had been there nearly 20 years, Splendour Homes which employed 70 or so tradespeople, Vision Windows, another big employer, cafes and real estate companies, and many more.'

These can all be traced back to the Marine Park.

'It was a domino effect. They were all reliant on fishing as the heart of the town. Another big impact was on property prices, which went in to free fall. Now, it’s hard to even sell up and move out.'

Esmay she can recount many tales of divorces, suicides, depression, people taking a hit, dumping their homes and leaving town. 'The GFC might be over, but we are officially in a recession and the statistics for the region back that up.'

The town’s reputation as a peaceful seaside retreat is taking a battering. 'Visiting recreational fishermen have been fined by Marine Park Authority patrols for catches they have caught in other areas, but because they’ve drifted in to the park, they’ve been fined, heftily. One I heard of was $750, which ruined his holiday. He returned to the bush and told everybody not to come here. No amount of advertising can counter that bad taste in people’s mouths – their bad experience.'

'Then there’s the water police, DPI and Maritime Waterways all checking on people. It has damaged the town beyond belief.'

Esmay states that they can prove that modern methods do not impact adversely on the environment.

'We installed bycatch reduction devices known as 'batwing boards' in 1992 and made our mesh holes double the size they need to be so any small fish can escape. Our weights are 4.35kg which means they do not scrape the ocean floor, and there is no sea grass in that area anyway. These are very light weight nets. They don’t come in to contact with the sea floor biota.

'We are as sustainable as any industry in the country – that is our goal to ensure the future for our profession and that of the next generation of fishers. We just want permission to work.'

As Esmay recounts, the Batemans Bay Marine Park area was closed by using the Precautionary Principle, a document which was written after the Marine Park was signed off.

'Early reports outlined that Long Beach was closed because of damage to the sea floor and the removal of sea grass. There was no scientific evidence presented to local commercial shareholders at the meetings and no testing carried out with local commercial fishermen,' states Esmay.

fresh local prawns and fish - that’s what locals and visitors want -  .. ©   Click Here to view large photo

There has been no prawning in the abundantly blessed Long Beach area since 2007 when the Marine Park was declared, covering 85,000 hectares of water.

'The irony is, the adult prawns are going to waste,' explains Esmay.

Prawns enter the Clyde River or Creek to spawn, they live 12 to 18 months emerging to the sea to die at the end of their life cycle.

'And that’s where we catch them – at the end of their life cycle. They are there to be harvested and we cannot because of flawed science underlying these bans.'

The NSW Coalition, led by Premier Barry O’Farrell, promised a review of the Marine Parks. They overturned Jervis Bay and Solitary Island. 'You can now trawl in marine parks including Great Byron Marine Park, Jervis Bay and Solitary Island in Coffs Harbour. But Batemans Bay is still pending, left to languish for another season. They haven’t contacted us, they won’t respond to our requests for a meeting.

'We send letters, emails and petitions to the Minister, Christina Hodgkinson but hear nothing back. Our local member, Andrew Constance is on side, but he has had no response either.

'We are going to miss another year’s catch,' Esmay laments, referring to the September to April haul of prawns there for the taking.

A real issue, according to the fishing families of the south coast, is the demonization of fishing and trawlers.

'Trawlers have a bad name, and for no good reason,' she says referring to the Green-washing of some NGOs. 'Our methods are best practice and harm nothing. We are only out there for half an hour stints.'

To support his family the only way he knows how, Esmay’s husband, Emil, drives the 250km round trip to fishing grounds further south, past Bermagui where he works his 6m tinny undertaking estuary meshing, a sustainable method known as 'splashing'.

The Hropics have a license to sell seafood from their home and Esmay says, all of them ask for local prawns.

'We explain the situation and they are flabbergasted. They nearly always sign our petition which to date has nearly 2000 signatures from visitors and locals. The Aboriginal Elder in town, John Brierely, has given us his support in writing, stating the effects the marine park has had on the aboriginal community, tourism and entire south coast economy. The local people have fished and caught prawns since prehistoric times and commercial operations alongside them since the 1940s.'

The impact on the Hropic family is nothing short of 'devastating' both in terms of family cohesion and their income.

'We used to do six months fishing and six months prawning, but we have to rely on fishing now. We own the last trawler in Batemans Bay, and renew our licenses each year, but we want to know how long we will have to wait until this is all reviewed. The stress is phenomenal.'

Bermagui Fishing Coop -  .. ©   Click Here to view large photo


What the town wants is to form a Co-op, like the good old days. 'We would do prawning and fishing for the town’s supply and for tourists. Right now, it’s like a death, a long slow death. We have done this all our lives. We have done the right thing, bought all the right equipment. Somebody needs to listen to us and realise the damage being done to our town and others like it, as well as the deception being practiced on the Australian consumer.'

Demand for seafood, touted as the healthy alternative to a diet high in red meat protein, is rising exponentially. Esmay says: 'It’s a religious rite in some cultures and for Catholics, to be able to eat fresh locally caught seafood caught in their own backyards. By locking up areas in Marine Parks governments are depriving Australians of their fair share of seafood, which is nutritious and recommended by medical experts for the Omega 3 they contain. People who can’t catch their own seafood are going without these benefits.'

For her part, after producing a thorough submission on the Independent Scientific Audit on Marine Parks, as requested by the state government, Esmay is currently undertaking a SWAT analysis on the economic consequences to her town, differentiating between pre-Marine Park and post.

'We are trying to be optimistic,' she says with the resilience of her people. 'Fishermen have always had to develop attributes that others did not. They had to be skilled at their trade, knowing the when, where and why of their fishing. They had to be patient, not easily discouraged and strong, hard-working and community-oriented.

'As business men they have to be judges of character, savvy about the market, conscientious about their civil and religious responsibilities. They have to respect the law and operate within it. As fishermen, we have mutual respect for the ocean. We are speaking for our community who are asking us and fully supporting our cause to be able to get back access to go fishing and supply them with fresh local seafood, prawns, from the Long Beach area in Batemans Bay.

'We are asking for a review of the zoning, to be granted a permit to conduct independent scientific trials to prove there is no reason it should be closed, to prove that our modern methods are workable, sustainable and of benefit to the community.'


by Jeni Bone

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.fishingboating-world.com/index.cfm?nid=103744

2:18 AM Tue 13 Nov 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







FishingBoating-World

A call to the 13 FISH offence reporting line recently helped Fisheries Victoria officers detect two Melbourne men aged 24 and 27 allegedly with undersize snapper at St Helens, north of Geelong. ... [more]  

Fish stocking in the Wimmera River is more than 70 per cent above normal levels this year thanks to improved water quality and funding from Victorian recreational fishing licence fees. ... [more]  

An anonymous tip-off to the fisheries offence reporting line 13 FISH earlier this month has led to three people allegedly being caught with more than 50 times the daily catch limit for abalone near Mount Eliza. ... [more]  

Fisheries Officers based at Portland seized 79 bream, one mulloway and ten fishing rods as a result of alleged fishing offences detected at Nelson on 21 January. ... [more]  

Recreational anglers now have better access to rock fishing spots at Boggaley Creek, near Lorne, thanks to new steps that descend from the Great Ocean Road. ... [more]  

The hideous, mildly terrifying and rarely sighted frilled shark has turned up in waters off south-eastern Australia. The species, whose ancestry dates back 80 million years, is known as the 'living fossil'. ... [more]  

Oceanair, leading supplier of blinds, shades, screens, and soft furnishings in the marine market, is proud to introduce the new Solarshield – a Lloyd’s approved antiglare roller blind that has been optimised for the marine environment. The unique roller blind blocks 99% of the sun’s harmful UV rays and rejects up to 80% of the sun’s energy and is ideal for use on bridges ... [more]  

Just in time for the busy summer boating season in Townsville, Superior Jetties built a pontoon at each of the very popular boat ramps in Ross Creek. ... [more]  

2014 warmest year since records began + Video by NOAA National Climatic Data Center
The year 2014 was the warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880. The annually-averaged temperature was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F). ... [more]  

Huge concrete modules built by a local Geelong manufacturer will be installed in Victorian waters to create one of the largest artificial reefs in the state. Visiting family owned local concreter Bates Pipes and Products today, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the concrete, custom made reef modules will be a great boost to Geelong’s industry and economy. ... [more]  

What good is a life jacket that isn’t going near the water anytime soon? Daring to grow a new category of collectables is the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, auctioning off a never used, BoatUS inflatable life jacket by Mustang at eBay. ... [more]  

Already renowned for state of the art facilities and luxury conveniences, Abell Point Marina is about to add two more exceptional guest services to its bow – a free courtesy car and a dedicated helicopter service. Responding to feedback from guests, the Marina has added the new services in order to help provide the best possible experience for visitors to the area. ... [more]  

AMM takes small plate boats upmarket into ‘Sea Class’ by Matthew, Barton Thomas - Australian Master Marine
Multi award-winning Queensland plate alloy boat builder, Australian Master Marine is undertaking a major transformation of its small boat range to provide even better hull performance, as well as sportier styling and greater levels of convenience. The transformation is being applied across all four hull lengths in the small plate boat range – 4.5 metre, 4.9 metre, 5.2 metre and 5.7 metre lengths. ... [more]  

A world class marine artist and an award winning sportfishing photographer are onboard for the next installment of the highly popular Wahoo Smackdown fishing tournament series—scheduled to return to the docks at the historic Bimini Big Game Club Resort and Marina on February 19-21 with some $50,000 in cash and prizes on the line. ... [more]  

This summer the Australian National Maritime Museum is all about underwater exploration with its brand new children’s adventureland, Voyage to the Deep. And to celebrate it is inviting families to a special submarine family fun day inspired by the exhibition and its resident submarine HMAS Onslow on Sunday 18 January. ... [more]  

This summer the Australian National Maritime Museum invites families to enjoy a brand new theatre show, Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, inspired by its new children’s adventureland, Voyage to the Deep. ... [more]  

Sail-World.com - Contributors Guidelines *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com
Whether its information about yachts, catamarans or dinghies, or tales of your adventures on the water, there is always a story waiting to be told. Sail-World is happy to receive your articles - be it profiles of people and boats, techniques, safety or seamanship. Read on for the guidelines for submitting an article, including commercial articles - if the information is of value to our readers ... [more]  

Volunteers from Marine Rescue Units at Kioloa and Ulladulla have responded to a report of emergency flares sighted off Snapper Point at Kioloa. ... [more]  

Rescue vessels from Marine Rescue Units at Jervis Bay, Shoalhaven and Sussex Inlet have been deployed on a search for a missing trailer boat with three people on board. Marine Rescue Regional Controller for Illawarra, Bruce Mitchell said that at around 4:30 this afternoon an anxious wife contacted Marine Rescue Shoalhaven to advise that her husband and 4-year-old son had not returned. ... [more]  

Summer reminder about yabby fishing rules by Department of Environment and Primary Industries
Recreational anglers are reminded that catch limits and equipment restrictions need to be heeded when fishing for freshwater yabbies in Victorian waterways. Fisheries Victoria Executive Director Ross McGowan said daily catch limits applied to all Victorian waterways. ... [more]  

Volunteers from Marine Rescue NSW will again join the thousands of boaters taking to Sydney Harbour for the New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular tomorrow night. ... [more]  

Stop thief! Spies nab Spy thieves by Liliana Engelhardt
A security camera installed in Club Marine member, Malcolm Kemp’s Craigieburn, Melbourne home captured the moment brazen thieves stole his XS21 Spy, a 21ft ski and wake boat. ... [more]  

Stop thief! Spies nab Spy thieves by Liliana Engelhardt
A security camera installed in Club Marine member, Malcolm Kemp’s Craigieburn, Melbourne home captured the moment brazen thieves stole his XS21 Spy, a 21ft ski and wake boat. ... [more]  

At about 1:45pm a passer-by alerted the Watch Officer at the Marine Rescue Base at Batemans Bay that he could see what appeared to be two people in the water near Middle Head. ... [more]  

Transport for NSW Maritime Management Centre today announced a community education program this summer to promote safe and responsible use of personal watercraft (PWC). ... [more]  

The 2015 Victorian Recreational Fishing Guide is now available and includes important information for anglers about size and bag limits, closed seasons and permitted equipment. ... [more]  

The Lakefest Aquatic Week on beautiful Lake Macquarie – just south of Newcastle – is set to become a reality with a number of events confirmed to occur during the February 20-27 week long celebration. ... [more]  

In 2013, over 955,000 boats changed hands on the pre-owned boat market. That meant for a nearly a million boat buyers, hiring an accredited marine surveyor to inspect their potential dreamboat was often the first step after finding it. ... [more]  

Marine Auctions is proud to announce that they will be pioneering their 2015 auctions with live internet online bidding from around the world. This is a huge step for Marine Auctions who have cemented themselves at the forefront within the industry. ... [more]  

In a world first study researchers have found a coral-eating fish that disguises its smell to hide from predators. 'For many animals vision is less important than their sense of smell,' says study lead author Dr Rohan Brooker from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University. ... [more]  

Keep safe on the water this holiday season by Transport Roads and Maritime Services
School holidays are under way and with only a fortnight to Christmas, Roads and Maritime Services urges boaters to keep safe this summer holiday season. ... [more]  

Sail-World is now live testing the changed website format. If you are using this format for the first time, please scroll to the bottom of the site and check that your region is set for your region and not some other. It can be correctly set up using the drop down boxes. Then go to the top, click refresh, and you should be away. ... [more]  

The new inclusions to the program are d’Albora Marinas Nelson Bay, The Anchorage Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour International Marina and Gladesville Bridge Marina, a significant first in the western reach of Sydney Harbour. Fish Friendly accreditation is an information campaign and accreditation system focusing on marina fish habits. ... [more]  

Another successful auction year comes to a close at Runaway Bay Marina
Marine Auctions is proud to announce the return of Bill Fankhauser
Go on an underwater adventure this summer at the museum
2014 Sanctuary Classic winners announced
AMA raises concerns about banning small cottage based fishermen
Club Marine's all-new TeleClaims and Online Claims
Introduction of NSW's first combined car and boat licence
Scientist explores mysterious food-borne illness: ciguatera
Bum breathing icon’s future in doubt
Three rescued from capsized boat in late night emergency
Win $5000 Cash to Splash with Club Marine
New exhibition takes kids on a Voyage to the Deep
Anglers reminded about new Murray cod catch limits
Oceanair debuts two new products at METS
PredictWind launches new Offshore Application for Mac and PC
FLIR M625 Review – Let there be light!
Thieves wreck Marine Rescue volunteers’ fundraising drive
Results in from ‘Operation Go Easy on the Alcohol’
Tips on boating with dogs
History’s lesson reveals depth of fish catch decline
Guy Harvey Fisheries Symposium draws all-star cast   
Extinction risk not the answer for reef futures   
Auction to be held at Runaway Bay Marina   
Garmin introduces new xHD2 Open-Array Radar Series   
New transducer line from Garmin boasts scanning sonar   
Arvor reveals new diesel range   
History in the making as NSW recreational and pro fishermen rally   
Tournament at historic Bimini Big Game Club draws record anglers   
Building on borrowed time + Video   
Garmin announces new echoMAP™ Series with integrated scanning sonar   
Garmin introduces new scanning sonar black box   
Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show - Exhibitor applications are now open   
Reminder: Second annual coral reef fin fish closure   
Over $½ million investment at Marine Rescue Shellharbour   
Pantaenius Insurance - 'Know boats, me.' *Feature   
2014 Yamaha Cod Classic - ‘Catch a legend’ of a Cod on the Murray   
New Rayglass ProJet on duty at Auckland Airport   
Fourth Annual 'No Motor' Tournament to begin November 8th   
‘Fish Friendly’ Accreditation for Southport Yacht Club   
Barge sinks to form part of artificial reef   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW FBW
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT