The fishing industry as conservationists? Not only possible - happening!
Conservation SA and the Spencer Gulf prawn industry have recently broken exciting new ground in marine conservation. For the first time, we are engaged in genuine collaboration. Together we are formulating what a successfully co-managed fishery might look like: one considering the needs of all stakeholders, from fisher to fish. The "fisheries vs greenies" stereotype is fading.
Historically, the fishing industry has been marked by a lack of consultation with the conservation sector. We've been excluded for too long and the environment has unfortunately paid a price. With scant attention paid to the ecological impact of industrial fishing, threatened species such as the Australian sea lion have suffered. These are the things we want to change and today I am asking you to please donate to our marine campaign to help us do so.
Fishing is a changing industry, facing economic pressures and undergoing regulatory change. We need to be a part of this change for the sake of our ocean life.
Doors are starting to open. We now have a successful model of cooperation under our belts and what has begun with one fishery could shape the future of collaboration with all fisheries. Your gift will strengthen us as a positive force for change. Please donate to help us expand our exciting work in this field.
The Spencer Gulf prawn fishery is a true champion of what is possible with a change in mindset towards the environment. We give full credit to this progressive fishery for recognising the value of conservation. Not only has it taken great initiative in engaging with us, it is using world-first ‘real-time' seas management, instantly identifying and protecting fragile areas in order to best maintain a healthy prawn population.
Yet even with such a great example of collaboration, much remains to be done to protect our ocean life and ensure the environmental impact of fisheries is understood. Encouragingly, other fisheries have expressed interest in co-management and a real opportunity lies before us.
To give an example of the great need for conservation input into fisheries, let me tell you more about Australian sea lions.These gorgeous animals are among the most threatened of our marine species. Only 12,000 are left in the world, 85% of which are in SA waters.
The Australian sea lion population was vastly reduced back in the dark days of fur hunting. Although that awful practice has long been banned, sea lion numbers have failed to recover, largely because these beautiful creatures get caught in shark gill nets. Until shark gill net fisheries change their ways, the fate of the Australian sea lion will remain under threat.
Constructive relationships between the conservation sector and fisheries can result in real outcomes for our marine environment, safeguarding threatened species and ensuring fish species remain at healthy, thriving levels. However, we need to be well resourced to move ahead and make the most of the opportunities and challenges before us. This Christmas, please give generously to the ocean and support Conservation SA's marine campaign.
In the near future, if we are able to dedicate more staff to this promising area, we will immediately begin work with fisheries and scientists to improve the way fisheries monitor endangered species. We will then work on using the improved data in the most effective way, informing decisions and (with a little luck and hard work) contributing to improved fisheries management.
We will also be working to enable our member groups to engage in marine conservation all across the State. And of course we will be forging ahead with relationship-building across industry, government and the conservation sector, continuing to change the fisheries and marine management paradigm.
Your gift to Conservation SA will indeed go a long way, enabling not only our work, but a great cooperative network increasingly dedicated to marine conservation. I look forward to the achievements and the benefits to marine life that, with your help, will eventuate in the year to come.
Till then, Merry Christmas and enjoy our beautiful marine environment,
President, Conservation SA