Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Mooloolaba Trawlers.

Sign of the times.
First the entree.
Like a cheap boat? This one came in a few months ago after it was surrendered to the bank. She will go at a fraction of her replacement value and a bargain for anyone wanting a really big luxury American built cruiser.
The main story.
While handing out voting information during our recent Federal election I was accosted by an angry forty-something woman.
‘I’d vote Green but you won’t let me fish!’, she snarled at me, in a not-to-be-questioned statement. Our Green Party does have scientifically recommended policies to create more marine parks where species can survive to keep recreational and professional fisheries sustainable.

The level of debate here can be judged by a bumper sticker on a fisherman’s car that says “Fix the environment-shoot a Greenie”.
To illustrate depletion of fisheries I describe observations made in two fishing ports, Eden in New South Wales and Mooloolaba Queensland.

Eden in the 1960’s was a bustling international fishing port. I saw huge trawlers and ‘mother ships’, refuelling from one of four million litre tanks above the wharves across the bay from a substantial fish cannery, the biggest employer in the town. You can see the tanks over the bay behind my youngest with kids in about 2008. Empty, and a reminder of happier times.
When I was there three years ago, the cannery was gone, its long wooden wharf festooned with danger signs. For sale signs stakes out landscaped vacant land where the giant fuel tanks once stood. The three remaining working trawlers, tiny by comparison, were serviced from a road tanker filled from one of the two town gas stations.
Here in Mooloolaba, four of the largest trawlers have been tied up for two months, the crew gone, looking increasingly forlorn. Yesterday I asked and was told the ‘company’s broke’. That represents about a quarter of the current working fleet. Further questions revealed that those four were what was left of eight the company worked only two years ago. That business failed because the fisheries are no longer sustainable at even the current reduced level of activity.
So what should be done? Around here there is no doubt. Open marine parks to commercial fishing and/or shoot a Greenie. Although everyone here knows the truth, it is convenient to blame someone for their predicament and it seems there are plenty of populist politicians who pop up to direct the anger at their political opponents. It is rare a politician in opposition is forced to deliver so their rhetoric produces two unfortunate outcomes. They give people false hope, delaying their departure from dying industries and sometimes their rhetoric leads to frustration fuelled violence.

Meanwhile I am gertting on with curing my lovely old Tiziana of the measles. As you can see she has a serious case of the 'patches'.


  1. Don't you just hate those one liners they come up with (the hatred toward greenies is so vehement in parts) - fishing, the great right of individuals (codswallop!). I also hate how they lump a thousand issues under the one banner (ie., greenies). Then along comes someone like Bob Katter with his own one liners (billy cans for all, fish till you drop) and they're all salivating madly. Blinkered mindsets with a completely inflexible approach to problem solving (but then, they don't think there is a problem). Rant over - great to see a photo of your boat - yayayay - and great post Stafford (you great big greenie you :) ).

  2. perhaps ecological ethics
    could be taught in school
    we surely do not have a clue

  3. Enjoyed the post today Stafford - behind you all the way (helpful from my base in North London I know)

    One a different note - why is blogger behaving so badly with the comments lately? I can't seem to make half of them stick!

  4. fish stocks are a serious issue - I can half remember a report about the cod fishing grounds off Grand Banks, Nfld, where all the big old fish were caught. I seem to remember that research revealed that it was the old fish who taught the young ones how to survive, where to spawn, where to feed, which currents to ride to avoid icebergs. The scientists think part of the reason the once mighty cod failed is (as well as over fishing) that the old hands were all gone.

    salt seems to be in the air over at your place ...

  5. Sometimes it seems so hopeless. Wow, are people dumb? Things I don't want to know, I won't.

  6. We don't want to read about Stafford the Greenie being shot ~~~ stay close to Tiz!
    She needs you.

  7. Stupidity is soon punished, but the problem is soon it will be all of us being punished.
    Are the canneries out of work because of the ocean being strip mined of all the fish? How do we change behaviors of the past. It's very frustrating to me sitting here powerless watching jobs disappear.

  8. "Shoot a Greenie"? For Jesus, no doubt. Same sentiment as here in the U.S., only here they're not referred to as Greenies so as much as they're dismissed as "environmental nuts" i.e. people who actually dare to suggest that something needs to change.

  9. **TIZ** - **PROUD TIZ **
    Normally Sleek , Proud and Shiny
    So Sad To See The ' Ravages '
    Of Salt and Time - Now Legacy Thine
    From * Neptunes Briny *

    We're With You * All The Way *
    With Stafford's Expertise -
    ** Please ! Shine and Fly **
    ** 8 Knots and Try **
    To * Crack The Record *
    Another Day !!

  10. Sad comment on society today - how selfish we are and never consider tomorrow.

    Lovely boat and hope you cure her measles. And, I forbid you to get shot!

    Anna :o]

  11. "I forbid you to get shot!"

    Maybe you've heard of the Native Americans of the 19th century who believed that a certain ceremonial dance could make them bullet-proof. Are you going to take up dancing, Stafford?

  12. I was actually accused the other day of being the green type of person who was so into recycling that I would drink my own urine. Some people make such outlandish statements. I only drink the sweat from my brow which, by the way is constantly furrowed by the lack of forethought those right wing types give to their pronouncements.

    Love your boat.


(leave a message)