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Research Puts Doubt On Estuarine Reserves

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    Taken from FW email newsletter 27 July 2017

    NEW research has gone beneath the surface of the MoretonBayMarinePark...and the results have cast doubt on the effectiveness of estuarine no-take zones in protecting stocks of popular fish species.

    The University of the SunshineCoast team who conducted the research was led by Research Fellow in Coastal and Marine Ecology Dr Ben Gilby.

    “Our team compared the number and diversity of fish in six estuarine ‘no-take’ areas with that of 16 other estuaries where fishing is permitted,” Dr Gilby said.

    “We found that the ‘no-take’ areas were falling well short of protecting fish that consumers like to catch and eat, such as bream, whiting and mullet.

    “Paradoxically, fish targeted by anglers were more abundant outside the six protected reserves, in the estuaries where fishing was allowed.

    “The only fish consistently found in greater numbers inside the ‘no-take’ reserves were species that people did not consume, such as toadfish and catfish.”

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    The USC research was led by Dr Ben Gilby.

    The six dedicated estuarine reserves were at Pumicestone Passage (BribieIsland, Tripcony Bight), Redcliffe, Nundah, Pimpama and Coomera.

    Dr Gilby, a fish ecology expert who lectures in Animal Ecology at USC’s campus on the SunshineCoast, said the study’s results initially puzzled the USC marine research team.

    “To find answers to this paradox about fish numbers in declared reserves, we examined the habitat features of the protected areas and found two major shortcomings – they were too shallow and they were poorly connected to the main channel or sea.

    “The reserves appeared to have been chosen mainly to protect mangrove habitat, but they unfortunately lacked sufficient water depth and had large areas drying out at low tide.”

    He led the study with USC colleagues Animal Ecology Lecturer Dr Andrew Olds and Professor of Marine Science Thomas Schlacher, USC PhD student Nicholas Yabsley, HealthyLand and Water’s principal scientist Dr Paul Maxwell and GriffithUniversity’s Professor Rod Connolly.

    Their paper, ‘Enhancing the performance of marine reserves in estuaries: Just add water,’ was published recently in the journal Biological Conservation.

    Dr Gilby said the joint study broke new ground in identifying the environmental factors contributing to fish biodiversity in estuaries.

    “It’s sure to be of great interest to anyone who wants more fish in the sea – whether that’s conservationists or recreational or commercial fishers,” he said.

    “Our results indicate that the effectiveness of reserves can be improved by conserving deeper estuaries which have a diversity of habitats, better water flow and stronger links to the sea.”

    The research received funding from the Brisbane-based non-profit organisation HealthyLand and Water and the Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation.

    “We’re also about to start a similar project investigating the distribution of fish species in estuaries between HerveyBay and the Livingstone Shire (near Rockhampton), including the GreatSandyMarinePark.” 

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    Exactly what happens when you put people in charge or allow decisions to be made by people that have no idea what theyre on about.

     

    Im sure this new advisory committee will sort out some of this mess. With the likes of Dr Daryl Mcphee on board i think we are set for some real productive environmental changes to benifit the moreton bay marine park in a positive way. 

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    one can only hope…… not being the cynical type :whistle: (that I`m sometimes accused of being) but I always question the political game of having the same in house management group decide if they really want to take on advice from an `advisory` committee.

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    Sure, i dont trust gov full stop. Gov people are so far detached from society its not funny yet we let them continue their stupidity ie. your article above.

     

    What i see happening is at least there are real world experienced people, and from what im lead to believe the whole comitee is made up of experienced folks, helping and informing the detached numpties that call the shots and hopefully working together to create an environment that my son and his sons will enjoy.

    Its got to be better than whats happening now, i mean dont get me wrong toad fish have their place as well but i think some silly decisions have been made and need to be reviewed as well as some new procedures put in place to ensure moreton bay has a sustainable future. 

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    Classic case of no consultation with scientists.

     

    "Where is the best nursery grounds for our bread and butter overfished species?"

     

    Simple question, possibly difficult to answer without sufficient research. I've been out of the game for a while, but a rec license would go along way to help fund this type of research. There are bugger all funds for rec research in QLD. Commercial research on the other hand......

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    I fish with a few people who find Moreton Bay's green zones a contentious issue, and also doubt their effectiveness. I for one, see the glass half full, and believe that they aren't hurting having them. In truth I find most of them ridiculously small to be effective, or most in places that aren't the best habitat anyway.

    It's a bit like the koala situation, the government allows the destruction of 1000 acres for housing development, then sets aside a narrow strip of 10 acres adjacent to a main road as koala habitat. :no:

    Of the green zones I fish near, I think some are hit and miss. The Woody Point(MNP12) zone is almost pointless, as many, my friends included, simply anchor just outside and burley into it. Any good day or night, will see half a dozen boats sitting on the edge doing this. However the Hayes Inlet(MNP11) zone seems to work well, as in the last two months I have seen record number of flathead come from the sand banks outside it. Might be connected, might not.

    It may be arrogant of me, but I'd like to see who and how the scientific team targeted fish in these area? Because if there catch was mostly catfish and toadfish, it has me guessing servo prawns and two year old beach worms. I'm sure there a some gun anglers out there, who given the chance to fish inside a green zone could give you an accurate representation of what's in there.

    I don't know if it would win many votes, but I'd like to see bigger green zones; however give them timeframes. For example when one green zone is in effect, another is not. Find areas that are crucial to spawning and pre-spawn feeding, and give them no-take status for 6 months, then after that, the zone temporarily changes to a yellow zone, something like that.

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    come on climate change :devil: then again, wont that take us closer to the next climate change trigger to send us into another ice-age...bbbrrrr  summer fishing for winter species :lol:

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