Sunday, February 15, 2009


Three reports below

Greenie shark madness in NSW

In the same week men were attacked by sharks in Woolloomooloo and Bondi Beach, the state Government banned NSW fishermen from catching them. Despite overwhelming evidence numbers are at record levels, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the state's 25 shark hunters last week received a letter from the NSW Department of Primary Industries declaring the ban. The letter stated the restriction was being imposed because the State's annual shark quota had already been reached. Despite a frightening summer of shark attacks and sightings up and down the NSW coast, fishermen will now be prohibited from taking sharks until July 1.

In the past week, navy diver Able Seaman Paul de Gelder, 31, was mauled by a shark at Woolloomooloo at 7am on Wednesday and lost a hand, while Glen Orgias, 33, was attacked at Bondi on Thursday at 8pm. Both men were continuing their recovery from surgery at St Vincent's Hospital yesterday. Mr Orgias's right hand has been reattached after 10 hours of surgery.

Under new fishing restrictions imposed last year, NSW fisherman are limited to catching just 160 tonnes of shark a year. In Queensland, fishermen are allowed to take 3000 tonnes.

North Coast fisherman Bill Litchfield described the ban as ludicrous given the increasing numbers of sharks being sighted. "We consistently get around 100 a night; that's an average catch. So how many of the buggers are out there?" he said. "The largest we've caught was a 15-foot (4.6m) tiger shark just 200 yards (183m) from Evans Head Surf Club. My skipper took his kids out of nippers the next day."

Mr Litchfield said he had written numerous letters to State Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald requesting the quota be reviewed. Mr Macdonald said the shark quotas affected species that were not man-eaters - a claim disputed by fishermen who said it protected bull sharks, which are thought to be were responsible for last week's attacks. The ban also protects dangerous tiger sharks, bronze whalers, hammerheads and black tips.

Mr Macdonald said: "The quotas are based on sound scientific advice. Everyone needs to remember there are no 100 per cent guarantees when swimming in the ocean - sharks are a natural part of the ocean environment."

NSW fishermen also blame a 1995 restriction on salmon beach-hauling for booming shark numbers close to the coast. "The salmon swim close to shore and bring in the sharks," Mr Litchfield said. "I've seen white pointers chasing them at surfing beaches at Newcastle. It is only time before a surfer gets taken there - it is going to happen."

Bondi fisherman Udo Edlinger also blamed a rise in salmon numbers for a spike in shark sightings. "I wouldn't be swimming around Sydney during dawn or dusk at the moment," he said. Fishing websites and live angling blogs are full of shark sightings, close encounters and stories of the day's catch. Doonside fisherman Peter Brennan said he didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he saw a 4m shark steal the kingfish right off his line on Monday at Clifton Gardens, near Mosman.

Other sightings include Roseville Marina, Woolloomooloo Wharf and Saunders Wharf at Darling Harbour. Professional Sydney fisherman and guide Craig McGill said he's never seen as much shark activity in the harbour in his 25 years of fishing. He said he had noticed a gradual increase in shark numbers over the past five years. "I certainly wouldn't be swimming anywhere in Sydney Harbour (now) ... and I wouldn't be going to Balmoral," he said. Mr McGill identified other hotspots as Chowder Bay, Clontarf and Rushcutters Bay.

Opposition industry spokesman Duncan Gay called for the quota cap to be lifted immediately. "This is serious ... and needs a Minister who is engaged with his portfolio to make sure our waters are safe as possible." Shark-hunting can be a lucrative industry, with fisherman earning up to $600 per kill. The jaws go to WA where they are sold as souvenirs, heads to The Philippines, fins and tails to Asia, spinal cords to the cosmetic industry and the meat to fish and chip shops around Australia.


Warmist celebrates economic troubles

THE international economic downturn may result in a short-term benefit with a decrease in production leading to a slowing in the growth of greenhouse pollution, one of the Federal Government's top advisers has forecast. Ross Garnaut, who was commissioned by the Government to write a comprehensive report on climate change, said the rate of the increase of greenhouse gas emissions had already fallen."[The downturn] has for a time stopped the rapid growth in emissions of the early 21st century," Professor Garnaut told a conference in Cairns yesterday.

"Since mid-2008, emissions from the developed economies as a whole, and from China, have been falling."But, he said, the reprieve would not halt the rapid rise in greenhouse pollution predicted for the coming decades." The global financial crisis gives us a little breathing space, but mitigation of climate change remains urgent and of central importance," Professor Garnaut said.

He criticised the Federal Government's proposed emissions trading scheme, saying it was offering too much compensation to heavy polluting industries. The draft legislation establishing the scheme is expected later this month.


Kyoto treaty to cost Australia $870 million

Australia faces the prospect of paying an extra $870 million for greenhouse gas emissions after Kevin Rudd's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and a new UN target for carbon pollution. After a year-long review by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change committee, Australia has been given a tougher target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions. The UN has reduced the amount of greenhouse gas emissions Australia is allowed to produce by 6.6 million tonnes ayear. If Australia is above the carbon emissions target at the end of 2012, it will be required tomake up any shortfall by buying carbon credits from other nations.

Continuing growth in carbon emissions in Australia and the new target have led leading global carbon market analyst Point Carbon to estimate a potential extra cost to taxpayers of $870 million in carbon credits in 2012. "The revision could force Australia to purchase over 30million assigned amount units (AAUs) more than expected, which could cost up to some $870 million, unless it can achieve further emission cuts domestically," Point Carbon's latest Australian emissions report says. The report adds that the credits Australia would buy are left over from the economic restructuring of former Soviet satellites after the fall of the Berlin Wall and hold "little or no environmental integrity".

The UN's reduction of 6.6million tonnes annually in Australia's emissions comes as the Department of Climate Change predicts that greenhouse gas emissions figures for 2007, to be released soon, will rise 9million tonnes above the levels of 2006. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong confirmed last night that the UN target had changed but remained confident Australia could meet it in 2012. "Our current projections, released last December, show we are on track to meet our Kyoto target, so there is no projected shortfall," Senator Wong said last night.

The Government is finalising an emissions trading scheme that is due to begin next year. The moves come as the global financial crisis puts extra cost pressures on industry, creating turmoil in world carbon markets and prompting claims that European polluters are abusing emissions trading schemes to raise quick finance. The price of carbon in the European ETS has crashed to a record low in the past two weeks - down from E30 ($59) a tonne to E10 - as heavy carbon polluters sold more than E1 billion worth of carbon credits to raise finance for their businesses.

European cement producers and electricity generators have unloaded carbon credits they do not need because economic growth has crashed. The Rudd Government's updated forecasts estimate Australian industry will have to pay $23.5billion for carbon emission permits in the first two years of the ETS. Point Carbon last week estimated the recession sparked by the financial crisis would cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 500 million tonnes



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