Saturday, March 2, 2024

NPA claim – Expert paid to bag report

Conservationists have alleged that an undisclosed sum raised by the NSW Government from recreational fishing licences has been paid to a fisheries advocate to criticise a controversial report written by the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA).

The NPA has labelled the review paid for by the Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing (ACoRF) and written by Prof. Bob Kearney as “fundamentally flawed” and “agenda laden”. The NPA’s report, The Torn Blue Fringe, included a literature review of marine conservation science and proposed that 20 per cent of marine waters off NSW be protected as sanctuary zones.

Nicky Hammond, Marine Program Manager of NPA said, “ACoRF is a pro fishing council, and Kearney is, without doubt, the most vocal scientist speaking out against marine park proposals in NSW. He is not a conservation biologist; he is a fisheries scientist and has represented the fishing industry professionally on committees. The outcome of any review conducted by Professor Kearney is a foregone conclusion.”

Hammond goes on to suggest that ACoRF paid Kearney to undertake the review instead of a marine parks or impartial scientist. “Instead of spending the money of the NSW fishing community on objective analysis, ACoRF has commissioned a hatchet job.” said Hammond.

“Whilst marine park scientists were available to review the document, ACoRF turned a blind eye to their offers of support,” continued Ms Hammond. “Their review had a hidden agenda from the outset and NPA believes it therefore holds no merit as a review of our proposal.”

For more information or to download a copy of The Torn Blue Fringe visit


Fishing World magazine editor Jim Harnwell comments:

Marine park review makes greenies see red!

ANTI-FISHINGactivists have labeled a report funded by NSW anglers into the marineparks issue as “fundamentally flawed” and “agenda driven”. The NationalParks Association of NSW, a lobby group which advocated a hard-coreanti-fishing agenda in its recent “Torn Blue Fringe” document, hasslammed a review written by the respected fisheries scientist ProfessorBob Kearney.
Trouble is, the NPA hasn’t even read this paper. It’s still being peer reviewed.

Backin the 1990s the US movie director Martin Scorsese released a filmcalled The Last Temptation of Christ. Outraged fundamentalistChristians led by moral campaigners such as Fred Nile blockadedcinemas, protesting that the film was anti-Christian and offensive. Irecall seeing these protestors interviewed on TV. None of them hadactually seen the film – they had simply made up their minds that itwas wrong and evil. The Last Temptation of Christ is now recognized andlauded as a deeply spiritual and significant film.

I wonder howmany NPA supporters sympathize with the reactionary viewpoints offundamentalists involved with narrow-minded protests against books andfilms, most of which they’ve never seen or read.

I would suggest most reasonable citizens would oppose such bigoted and ignorant behaviour.
Unfortunately,the sort of facile small mindedness often linked with right-wingfundamentalists is becoming more and more common amongst theconservation movement.

The NPA response to the Kearney reviewis worrying on a number of levels. Strongly crictizing an as yetunpublished review in the way the NPA has done ranks up there with theworst kind of patronizing and judgmental censorship.

The NPA’smarine program manager, Nicky Hammond, makes serious errors of judgmentand puts her group’s credibility on the line when she slams Kearney’sscientific professionalism and attempts to gag debate on the marineparks issue.

What the NPA is saying when it labels the Kearneyreport as “flawed” is that no other view than that espoused by the NPAis allowed. I’m sure the NPA people think they’re pretty good, butthey’re not omniscient. Surely reasonable people in the NPA – there aresome, aren’t there? – would respect the views of other groups involvedin this debate? Surely they would also have the decency to allow theseviews to be expressed?

This said, it’s highly likely thatKearney’s review will clash with what the NPA wants regarding more andexpanded marine parks.

But just because you don’t like whatthe other side says is no excuse to release an uninformed and emotivepre-emptive strike on it. The NPA’s press release pouring scorn on theunreleased Kearney review smacks of desperation and shows a distinctlack of corporate maturity.

The NPA has shown itself to beintolerant, small minded and, worse still, fanatical in its approach tothis issue. Fred Nile would be proud.

By Jim Harnwell
Fishing World


The Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW comments:

Anglers defend credentials of marine scientist

NSW anglers have defended the credentials and professionalism of Professor Bob Kearney, the marine scientist appointed to review the National Parks Association’s pro-marine parks ‘Torn Blue Fringe’ document released in December 2008.

The recreational fishers of New South Wales, using their licence funds, sought out the services of an expert in fisheries and environmental sciences, to critique the NPA’s document. One of the two stated objectives of that document was to critique commercial and recreational fisheries management in NSW.

The other objective was to ‘document the state of marine conservation in NSW’, stated the Chairman of the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW, Mr Malcolm Poole.

Malcolm Poole goes on to say, “Professor Bob Kearney’s credentials are unquestionable, he has two doctorates in marine science, his professional positions include being the Director of Research at NSW Fisheries for nine years, Professor of Environmental Sciences and Head of the School of Resource Environmental and Heritage Sciences at the University of Canberra and Chairman of the Board of the WorldFish Center. He has also been awarded the Order of Australia for services to Australian and international fisheries research and management”.

Professor Kearney’s review was only completed on the 12th March 2009 at 4pm, after being peer reviewed by several top scientists, including Australia’s pre-eminent expert on Marine Protected Areas, and has not being publicly released as yet.” It is indicative of the fear that the National Parks Association holds for serious review of their statements that they release a completely unjustified personal attack on the author of a report they have not even seen.

This is totally unprofessional behaviour.

The two main reasons why recreational fishers have taken the action to commission Professor Kearney to provide a review, are;

1. to obtain authoritative comment on the critique of NSW recreational fisheries management provided by the National Parks Association

2. to obtain assessment of the science that has been claimed to support the exclusion of recreational fishers from great areas of NSW coastal waters
recreational fishers will provide additional comment on the critically important conservation of NSW coastal ecosystems and the sustainable management of recreational fishing after they have had a chance to see Professor Kearney’s report.

Contacts: Chairman Malcolm Poole 0403 125 766 or Secretary Stan Konstantaras 0407 131 714.

Once the report is made public, it will be available for download from the front page of our website at

The Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW
“Promoting Sustainable Fishing”
PO Box 328 Matraville, NSW 2036

For more translated material and downloads on rock fishing safety visit or or
RFA of NSW – Member of NSW Recreational Fishing Trust Fund Expenditure Committee –
Member of NSW Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing


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