The war for marine reserves

why are governments waging wars with their own people for no benefit?

by Dr J Floor Anthoni (2003)
The New Zealand Government (as are other governments) is waging a war against its own people, a war that will cost the nation dearly for no measurable benefit in return. Based on the failed ideology of proponents of marine reserves, the Government wants to set aside 10-30% of the sea, and close it for all fishing forever. This despite the fact that fishing is no longer the main threat to our coastal seas. But land-based pollution now causes irreparable damage to thousands of species for whom marine reserves do not provide protection. The only way to save our seas is by saving the land first. Read this incredible account of how society has its priorities wrong and how science has failed society, for the blame rests entirely with environmental and marine scientists. This web site details the problem of the world's seas from mismanagement of our soils, to the effects of runoff, the damage it causes to the sea and how eutrophication works. Although this account is about the situation in New Zealand, its principles apply world-wide.
introduction An introduction to the problem: how is it possible that society is doing 100 things the wrong way in its attempt to manage the oceans? Can we ever get it right? Complete with links to supporting information (9 pages)
Frequently Asked Questions with honest answers. This is your starting point for familiarising yourself with the problems, misinformation, propaganda, fallacies and deceptions. (32 pages, growing)
myths&fallacies After 25 years of good news propaganda, while unaware of changing circumstances, proponents of marine reserves have spread disinformation, exaggerating the actual benefits of marine reserves while hiding bad news. Now most people, being uninformed about how different the sea is from the land, have strong beliefs which they use to bring harm to others for no benefit in return. This section aims to redress the arguments, not to discredit people but to remove myths and fallacies from the marine reserves debate. Read how easily we surrender our minds to fantasies. (large and growing)

Dr Shipp's report of how MPAs cannot help fisheries management. Courageous and well documented. (13p)
What MPAs provide the Nation. NOAA's Marine Protected Areas site USA. Naive, full of myths and fallacies.(6p)

laugh&learn This section contains a growing series of cartoons (war-toons) illustrating many issues in the war for marine reserves. Laugh a little, learn a lot, collect them and spread them around because they are compact files, suitable for e-mailing. Each page contains 13 cartoons, or one quarter of a year  for a weekly magazine. Publishers/printers need permission. 
  • Wartoon1 the first series of 13 war-toons (7p)
  • Wartoon2 the second series of 13 (7p)
In fast succession new marine reserves are proposed, stretching the resources of the public to react in an informed manner. Employing all the tactics of real war such as heavyhandedness, secrecy, pre-emptive strikes, lies, disinformation and propaganda, DOC (the NZ Department Of Conservation) has positioned itself as a ruthless ideological warrior who justifies the means to an end. Read their proposals to be amazed and disgusted as we explain and expose their fallacies! Tell others about it. Print and circulate them. Use the submission forms to submit your vote. Copy them for others. Better still, use the automated submission system offered by option4 where you can find many additional documents. 
  • Te Matuku at Waiheke Island. A reserve in the badwaters of Auckland.
  • Fiordland: See also fiordland-guardians.org.nz.
  • Tiritiri Matangi Island and Whangaparaoa Peninsula marine reserve and questionaire. (9+1 pages) 
  • Great Barrier Island marine reserve on the north-east coast of GBI, to the territorial limit. Submission form. (14 pages). Closing date 31 July 2003. 
    • Read the revealing Seafood Industry's concerns seafic1.pdf  fundamental to most other marine reserve applications (22 July 2003, 10 pages PDF 56KB) or seafic1.htm converted to HTML (7 pages, 29KB)
    • The official GBI marine reserve proposal - too lengthy and irrelevant. 
    • Study the well argued submission of the NZ Rock Lobster Council showing DoC's on a slippery slope. nzrlicgb.htm. (12 pages)
    • Some serious snags and stumbling blocks threaten DoC's bungled approach and procedure (10 pages)
      • The Mabey Family is angered about bribes to local land owners. 
      • The Auckland City Council distances itself, concerned over the Barrier's economic development
      • The Marine Transport Authority objects on many valid points. 
  • Volkner Rocks near White Island (postponed).
  • West Coast of the North Island between Raglan and Kaipara Harbour and much further. (16 pages) Visit the Sand and Sea action group's web site www.sandandsea.net.nz. Read the Paradise Conspiracy article of Investigate Magazine to become aware of deliberate misinformation and deception.
  • Tawharanui Peninsula marine reserve status change from marine park to marine reserve, including boundary extension. Submission form. (12 pages)
  • Mimiwhangata marine reserve status change and vast expansion. Deadline for submissions: 12 Oct 2004.
  • The marine reserve application  process was left out from the above proposals to save space but here it is. (2 pages)
  • NZ Marine Reserves act 1971 updated to 1996.  User- and printer friendly. (16 pages) 
reserves status The present state of the marine reserves proposals/ appplications in progress. It is hard to stay abreast. (2 pages with maps)
MPA Policy Plan In December 2004 this Government made a decree in Cabinet to fast-track marine reserves. Under the pretense of an integrated strategy with consultation of all stakeholders at all stages, DoC' s new Marine Protection Policy and Implementation Plan by-passes the Marine Reserves Amendment Bill and the Oceans Policy, both held up in committee. But fishermen and Maori didn't raise to the bait.
news Articles skeptical of marine reserves (see also next box)
Marine reserves are not working, why hurry? by Floor Anthoni, 2001 (2 pages)
Dark seas, dark future: by Floor Anthoni. 2003 (3 pages)
The one that got away. by Geoff Cumming, NZ Herald weekend revue 28 June 2003.(external link)
dark seas
dark future
Articles from newspapers and elsewhere showing support for the enormous land-based threat, while scientists are slowly awakening to the new reality.
  • Articles(1) that report degradation as a serious threat to sea and conservation. (12 pages)
    • Habitat degradation and the future of fish assemblages on temperate and tropical reefs G.P. Jones 1993
    • The three screen doors: Can marine 'protected' areas be effective? Jameson S C, Tupper M H, Ridley J M. 2002. Mar Poll Bull 44 (2002):1177-1183
    • Concerns from Environment Australia about the river plumes that kill the Great Barrier Reef.
    • High Seas biodiversity conference, June 2003: most pollution in  the sea comes from the land.
    • Blackwater destroys corals in the Florida Keys National Park, Naples Daily News, 11 Aug 2002.
    • Pew Oceans Committee identifies problems to US seas. Stephen R Palumbi, January 14, 2003
    • Long-Term Region-Wide Declines in Caribbean Corals Science Magazine, 17 July 2003
    • Baltic Sea Fish Kill Blamed on Nutrient Runoff BRUSSELS, Belgium, September 18, 2003 (ENS)
    • Forever connected by Elizabeth Light, SEAFOOD NZ Sept 2003.
    • Sea 'dead zones' threaten fish by Alex Kirby, BBC news 29 Mar 2004
    • Dead zones increasing in world's coastal water - Janet Larsen, Earth Policy Institute. 16 June 2004
    • New model links starfish scourge to run-off - CRC Reef scientists link high nutrient levels to starfish outbreaks. 18 Mar 2004
    • Coral decline threatens fish biodiversity in marine reserves Geoffrey P. Jones et al. 2004
    • No more seafood by Father Api and T Goreau. 2 May 2006. Wrong scientific advice from obtuse scientists..
    • Coral reefs threatened by human proximity: marine reserves do not help against loss of coral. Jan 2008
    A critical review of marine science conducted in New Zealand relating to the counting of fish, comparing marine reserves with non-marine reserve sites, the snapper-urchin-kelp myth and more. Science gone wrong. (33 pages)
    links Links to organisations fighting the rationale, the placing, the ad-hoc process, the lies about marine reserves. (on this page)
    Links to important chapters on this web site. 
    Conservation: the main section about how conservation works, resource management, biodiversity, marine conservation, Lessons from Leigh, Science Exposed, all necessary to understand the issues. (187 p, growing) 
    Index to marine reserves of NZ, complete with extensive chapters devoted to each. (growing) 
    MRA71 the Marine Reserves Act 1971 (updated to 1977) in a printer friendly form (13 p) 
    MRA96 the Marine Reserves Act 1971 updated to 1996 in a printer friendly form (15 p)

    For comments, suggestions and improvements, e-mail the author, Floor Anthoni
    -- seafriends home -- conservation index -- Rev 20031017,20041029,20050621,20060529,20060714,20070728

    Various organisations, even when supportive of marine reserves in general, have been placed in opposition by the way DOC has been conducting the marine reserves process. Others can understand from reading this web site and comparing it with their own experiences on the sea, that marine reserves can't work or that they are not the right solution in most cases. As a result, the number of people opposing no-take marine reserves as proposed by DOC, who is committed to the NZ Biodiversity Strategy and the Marine Reserves Act, is rising steeply. Give your support and donate generously to enable us to do battle for you and your children.

    Seafriends is an organisation fighting to save our seas. After more than 13 years of investigation, we concluded that coastal marine reserves can no longer deliver on their promises. This is borne out by the many failed marine reserves created in the past quarter century. The main threats to our coastal waters now come from the land, not from fishing. So in order to save our seas, we must save the land first. Seafriends has positioned itself against coastal marine reserves for the sake of protecting biodiversity because these no longer work. We must be smarter. We are committed to exposing all the nonsense in the thinking about marine reserves. If you believe in wrong ideas, you will make wrong decisions. For the sake of future generations we must make the right decisions for the right reasons. That is what we are fighting for. You can help by informing yourself about these issues. It is not as easy as believing in simple feel-good solutions, but it will enrich your life and help others to lead the right way. We owe it to our children!

    Option4 fights for statutory rights of New Zealanders to take fish from their own seas. Insatiable overseas markets demand more fish than our seas can deliver, resulting in stark reductions in recreational bag limits and steeply increasing prices of fish. New Zealanders must be guaranteed to have first priority to the bounties of their own country and seas rather than being regarded a minority shareholder. Option4 has come out strongly in the marine reserves debate, not as an opponent but to fight for the right solutions that will deliver more fish in a healthy ocean while costing least. It is an obligation we have to our children.
    Follow the links on their web site to a wealth of information that would otherwise be hard for you to find. Become a member to endorse their cause.

    Sand and sea is a group promoting responsible management of our shore and sea resources while retaining the right and freedom to use these. They are fighting the Westcoast marine park proposal which threatens to close many areas with good access to the sea. Sand and sea applies education as their principal agent for conservation and the enforcement of laws and regulations which are already in existence. It positions itself against unnecessary complications and new regulations which are also duplications of what already exists.