Too much fishing 

April 2019
Due to our oceans being overfished and becoming dangerously acidic, polluted with plastics, microbeads and heavy metals such as mercury, we need to acknowledge yesterday was World Day for the End of Fishing. 
This day calls for the abolition of fishing and fish farming. 
Crustaceans, cephalopods and fish species make up the largest amount of animals killed by humans causing uncountable trillions of deaths each year. 
Many are used to feed farmed fish. Many others are discarded as unwanted bycatch by longline fishing and trawlers. 
Fish and other aquatic animals live their lives hidden from view. They are not protected in any way by animal welfare laws. 
As WDEF promotes: “If we do not become their voice who will hear them?” 
Ocean health equals planet health. 
Diane Cornelius

Fish stocks down

April 2019

Correspondent Paul Craig seems to think the imminent collapse of world fisheries is some kind of joke.

Most experts agree that by about 2050, the oceans will be effectively dead. Waxing lyrical about family outings sticking hooks into fish is a farcical response to a looming ecological disaster.

James Thomson

Shark feeding 

February 2019

I refer to the article “Cage Fighting."  The Abalone Industry Association of South Australia believe, at the heart of the issue is, any method that attracts sharks to boats should be banned. 
Deliberately interfering with and changing the behaviour of sharks by provoking and attracting them to boats (and divers) is morally wrong. 
Is it widely known that free roaming wild animals will be encouraged to, and trained by, food. 
This fact has now been acknowledged by the “ecofriendly” shark-cage tourism operator who continues to pursue a burley licence. A licence that allows the training of sharks should not be permitted . 
The purpose of teasers (meat or imitation) is to lure, goad and excite the sharks closer to the boat for the amusement of thrill seeking tourists. 
This practice defies logic and science and undeniably changes shark behaviour. The use of teasers must be immediately stopped. 
Eco-tourism should be directed towards observing the wildlife in their natural habitats without the use of any attractants . 
Dr Nicole Hancox, 
Abalone Industry Association of South Australia executive officer 

Whaling decision

December 2018
Japan's decision to exit the International Whaling Commission and revive its old whale slaughter industry limited to its own territorial seas puts its international reputation at risk (“ Japan harpooned over its choice to resume whaling.")  
Whales contribute valuable nutrients to the marine environment. 
Their iron-rich liquid poo is food for phytoplankton, the ocean’s base on the food chain. 
While whale meat has a cultural significance for the declining older Japanese population, who ate a lot of it during past era food shortages, hopefully younger generations will wish to see their Government protect these magnificent ocean mammals, thus making the industry economically unsustainable. 

 Simone Hunter

Crabs feel pain too

December 2018

Looking at the photo of the tightly bound mud crab in the hands of a fisherman who was “robbed” of part of his catch, it was the mud crab I felt sorry for. (Fisherman’s Christmas crab catch pinched.)

How distressed this poor creature would surely be feeling, snatched from his watery home and restrained, tightly bound, for several days.

And, given that most crabs are boiled alive, what a torturous death he will soon be forced to endure. Crustaceans are not akin to potatoes or parsnips. They are living, feeling beings who, like us, feel pain.

When they are boiled alive they struggle and attempt to free themselves while also shedding their limbs.

Some studies have shown that crabs feel the pain of being boiled alive for as long as three minutes.

New Zealand and Switzerland have already banned this practice and it’s high time Australia did the same.

Jenny Moxham

Cruel and pointless

October 2018

Following on from the letter “Shark culling debate” (Messenger Community News, October 10), Desmond Bellamy illustrates the stupidity of killing random sharks in the sharks’ own home territory.

How cruel and pointless to bait and kill any shark on the remote chance of catching the one that bit a human. There is no justification in this appalling slaughter.

Christine Pierson

Inhumane Killing

October 2018
I agree with Moira Newman “Shark business.

How cruel and pointless to bait and kill any shark on the remote chance of catching the one that bit a human. 
Even if the right shark were to be caught, what does it achieve? 
The chances that the same shark would attack another person are remote, because sharks do not deliberately choose humans in any case. We are not their favourite food. There is no justification in this appalling slaughter, which is inhumane and counter-productive. 
Christine Pierson

Shark culling debate

October 2018

We were all horrified to see two people being rushed to hospital after shark attacks in the Whitsundays last week, in an area that has been free of such incidents for a long time.

However, the response of the government has been a panicked, knee-jerk reaction: five sharks have been killed in the space of a week, with no evidence that any human has been made safer.

Sharks have inhabited the oceans for 34 million years, and have earned their right to live in their natural habitat without being hunted and killed.

Last year, there were only five fatal shark attacks recorded globally, despite billions of people entering the oceans, often to do dangerous things.

In Australia, an average of 280 people drown every year in our waterways, yet this receives far less paternalistic attention from the authorities.

Humans pose a far greater threat to sharks than they ever will to us. Every year, humans pull roughly 100 million sharks from the water, slice off their fins to make soup, and throw their mutilated bodies back into the sea to bleed slowly to death. Yet, we are afraid of them?

Polls have consistently shown that an overwhelming number of Australians oppose culling of sharks.

In almost every case of a shark attack, people are back in the water, often before the beaches are officially reopened, well aware that the sharks in the water present an infinitesimally smaller risk than that posed by driving their cars to the beach.

Desmond Bellamy,  Special Projects, PETA Australia

Sanctuary fishing

September 2018
Erin Jones’s article “Struggling fishermen dispute no-take zones” highlights if fishermen are unable to catch fish outside the imaginary lines in the sand, the marine sanctuary on a map, this would indicate a severe lack of marine life inside the line, the sanctuaries. 
Therefore, any lack of fish in or near the sanctuary would indicate fishing in our sanctuaries would exacerbate the loss. I trust the review Conservation Minister David Speirs is conducting will prevent any further loss of our important marine breeding grounds. 

Charlotte Rischbieth

Protect fish 

September 2018
The article “Struggling fishermen dispute no-take zones,” refers to a review by SA Environment Minister David Speirs into our allocations of marine sanctuary zones, that actually only take up 6 per cent of SA’s waters. 
World famous oceanographer Sylvia Earle said: “We think of fish as free. Free goods for us to extract ... fish make the oceans functional and our lives possible. If you consider the cost to the food chain, it’s a pretty expensive choice." She advocates plant-based and lab-cultured seafood choices. 
“This new way of looking at what we consume is so 21st century ... it’s what we really need for food security.” 

Diane Cornelius

Our Marine Sanctuaries

March 2018   

Last year 80,000 Australians signed submissions to reject the proposed cuts to our marine sanctuaries, which would be the biggest removal of protection for Australian wildlife in history, ignoring decades of science and even the Government's own independent review. In fact thousands of people are calling for more protection for these crucial feeding grounds and breeding areas for our incredible and often unique marine life, and regions of diverse habitats. The worst hit will be the Coral Sea, cradle for the Great Barrier Reef, one of the last places on earth where our ocean giants can thrive. Our oceans are under increasing threat from overfishing, acidification and pollution from heavy metals and plastics. We must insist that MPs and the leadership reject cuts of these sanctuaries, so we can leave a legacy of marine protection we can be proud of.

Diane Cornelius

Marine Protection

April 2018

South Australians support our marine sanctuaries that have been in place for three years, protecting regions of diverse habitats. They are crucial feeding and breeding areas for our incredible and often unique marine life. Yet unfortunately marine parks make up only 6% of our state waters.  Our oceans are under increasing threat from overfishing, acidification and pollution from heavy metals and plastics..We must insist that our MPs and the leadership of all parties reject any proposed revision of these sanctuaries, so we can leave a legacy of marine protection we can be proud of.

Phil Cornelius

World Whale Day

Feb 2018

February 18th is World Whale Day, and in the name of scientific research, Japan has recently set out on their annual Minke Whaling mission. Hundreds are harpooned and die slow, painful deaths. As it is the breeding season many 15 to 20 year old females are pregnant, and due to long 10 to 13 month pregnancies every 2 o 3 years, whaling is unsustainable.

The International Court of Justice has agreed, along with Norway and Iceland, they are merely hunting for meat. Due to heavy metals in their blubber, whale meat is dangerous to eat, yet it is heavily subsidised by the Japanese Government. Baleen whales such as Minke, blue and humpback whales dive deep for krill and plankton and stir up the small marine species, that are food for fish that swim at other levels.

Human demand for krill and fish is causing overfishing of our oceans and damaging marine ecology. Education is the only answer, as these majestic creatures need protection from extinction.

Diane Cornelius

Fur Seals

March 2018

Anyone reading that 6,000 explosives are to be available to commercial fishers, in Erin Jone's article in the Advertiser,"Cracker of a plan to frighten off seals," could be forgiven for believing seals are the sole reason some fishermen have already left the industry and there are less fish in the Coorong. 

According to the SA govt fact sheet, native long-nosed fur seals are a natural part of the our marine ecosystem and not an environmental pest. In Erin's article, nothing was mentioned about the huge refrigerated Danish super trawler, and many smaller trawlers since, that have been trawling Australia's coastline since 2015 plundering all fish in the pelagic zone for specific species, and discarding millions of unwanted fish as "by-catch," causing fish stocks to plummet.

The word 'crackers' is misleading as documented evidence reveals that explosives reverberate for kilometres and are loud enough to affect whales' and dolphins' hearing and their important navigation skills. Seals are the unfortunate "scapegoats" and adapt quickly to the noise making the deterrent ineffective. The solution is to stop destructive trawling to let fish stocks recover.

Diane Cornelius

Laws need teeth

I WAS appalled to read of the mutilation of sharks and rays, leaving them to die a slow and painful death. 

The Conservation Council suggests making it illegal to take sharks and rays from jetties. However, this doesn’t go far enough.

It’s high time SA followed the lead of other states and included fish in prevention of cruelty to animals legislation. Both NSW and Victoria explicitly include fish (and crustaceans) in their laws, whereas in SA fish are explicitly excluded.

The exclusion is no doubt due to pressure from fishers, rather than scientific fact. There is ample evidence fish feel pain and they, like other animals, should be protected from cruelty. The law should reflect this fact.

Suzanne Pope