Fleming Fiction Exposed yet Again

Sent to by the Professor, but Never appeared in the Bay Post (Batemans Bay Newspaper) on Wednesday 3rd Oct 2007 – Controlled media at it’s best but our 380,000 readers will do for a start.

The Editor,

To The Bay Post,

I am responding to your article “Critics call for marine parks to go”, 29/9/07, and in particular the statement, “MPA’s Tony Fleming said Professor Kearney’s critique had a number of flaws”.Primarily, I am supposed to have “confused the paper – which was for the general public – with planning principles for marine parks which had been developed over a number of years”.

I did indeed comment on the papers which were “for the general public” because these were the ones the public was given during the consultation period as the justification for the Batemans Marine Park. If it now turns out, as Tony Fleming contends, that there are other principles which over-ride the ones given to the general public then the whole consultation process was a sham and a waste of time for the general public and all who accepted the Marine Parks Authority’s invitation to contribute.

My paper pointed out that the documentation given to the public on the justification of the Batemans Park was grossly and consistently biased and abused the principles of sound and objective science. Correct interpretation of the science quoted by the Marine Parks Authority shows that the Batemans Marine Park will not protect the estuarine or beach ecosystems against even the threats identified by the Marine Parks Authority.

If, as Tony Fleming contends, “It is clear that the protection offered by marine parks also relies on a range of other estuarine and marine management initiatives that we have in place”, what are these other initiatives, additional to the obvious restrictions on fishing, and why were they not set out in the documentation given to the public and included in the scientific assessment of the collective actions?

It would appear even Ministers Debus and Macdonald were not aware of these other alleged significant restrictions, otherwise why would their joint Media Release of 14 July 2006 on the Batemans Draft Zoning Plan state, “People can generally continue to do what they’ve always done within the sanctuary zones except commercial and recreational fishing”? Fleming’s statement, “The key threats that are managed by marine parks include some damaging types of fishing, such as fish and prawn trawling” confirms rather than counters my assessments.Again, the only threat that the Batemans Park attempts to ‘manage’ is fishing. And again, no evidence is given as to how even fish and prawn trawling are damaging and absolutely no assessment is provided on why exclusion of these activities from small areas of the coast represents the most effective or efficient management.

If these activities can be shown to be damaging then this damage should be managed over the whole of New South Wales by the legislated fisheries management agency, the Department of Primary Industries.

Bob Kearney
Emeritus Professor of Fisheries
University of Canberra

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