Educated fishers look after stocks
By KATHERINE MULLARD
WITH scientists predicting a collapse in fish stocks around the world within 50 years time, is it inevitable that Australians too will have to bid farewell to that old favourite, fish 'n' chips?
Not according to the director of the National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour, Professor Alistair McIlgorm, who said fears of a collapse in the northern hemisphere fishery were not warranted down under.
"We in Australia and New Zealand have taken steps that they (other countries) didn't," he said.
"We didn't make the decision soon enough, but now we're playing catch up."
Prof McIlgorn believes that the key issue in protecting our marine diversity is to have suitable frameworks in place.
"Licensing was insufficient, so now we're bringing fishers into share management," he said.
"Under share management the fishers have ownership incentives not to over-exploit as they themselves will be the victims in the future."
The National Marine Science Centre yesterday hosted a NSW Marine Education and Discovery Forum to coincide with the 2006 NSW Coastal Conference, which gets under way today.
"Educating people about the value of our beautiful and unique marine environment is the best chance we have to ensure it is preserved for future generations," the NSW project officer for the Marine and Coastal Community Network, Roberta Dixon, said.