Target: Barry O’Farrell, Premier, New South Wales, Australia
Goal: Maintain a fishing ban in no-take marine sanctuaries
Recently, the New South Wales government in Australia proposed lifting a ban on line fishing in “no-take” zones in protected marine sanctuaries. The move was made without consulting scientists that study the area, who fear that it could nullify years of work and millions of dollars in past conservation efforts.
No-take zones in marine sanctuaries provide a place for the natural ecosystem to thrive, and for local endangered populations to recover. A balanced and diverse ecosystem acts as a wide-reaching buffer to overfishing and environmental changes that negatively affect populations, such as loss of prey or habitat. These zones are helpful to fish populations far beyond their borders, as ocean currents transport eggs and larvae to new areas.
Allowing fishing in these previously protected zones, even if only for common species such as Mahi Mahi or snapper, could result in a decline in prey animals for some larger, endangered fish and sharks. In fact, a decrease of mid-level fish could throw off the delicate balance of the entire sanctuary zone.
Though recreational line fishing may seem relatively harmless, several studies have noted that recreational fishing has a greater impact on some species than commercial fishing. While commercial fisheries focus on abundant, easy to catch fish, anglers typically focus on rarer or more appealing species, such as red snapper or swordfish.
The proposition, based on a whim rather than scientific evidence, could prove detrimental to fish not only in sanctuary areas, but throughout the ocean. Ask that New South Wales’ delicate ecosystems be preserved by keeping in place a ban on all fishing in no-take zones.
Dear Barry O’Farrell, Premier, New South Wales, Australia,
The government of New South Wales recently proposed to lift a fishing ban in “no-take” marine sanctuary zones. Lifting this ban could jeopardize past progress made on conservation, and effectively nullify years of work and millions of dollars spent on conservation efforts.
Allowing recreational fishing, which may seem relatively harmless, could throw off the ecosystem’s delicate balance. A reduction in medium-sized fish could mean less food for the larger, endangered fish, and could lead to a decline in plant life through proliferation of smaller, herbivorous fish.
Australia’s waters are some of the most diverse on earth, but are still recovering from past overfishing. Many of New South Wales’ current sanctuary areas are on known spawning or feeding grounds for local marine life found to be depleted of their once abundant stocks. I ask that no risks be taken with delicate marine ecosystems in New South Wales, and that the fishing ban remain in place in all no-take zones.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Eric Burgers via Creative Commons