To: Hon Peter Walsh MP and Anthony Hurst (Director of Fisheries Victoria)
Save the future of fisheries and marine science in Victoria
The Honourable Peter Walsh MP,
We ask you to stop the job cuts to fisheries researchers at the Fisheries Research Branch and conduct a full review of what resources are required to enable best ecosystem-based fisheries management for Victorian Fisheries to support sustainable fisheries and protect the marine environment. We ask you to reinstate positions that have already been removed and reinstate key monitoring programs. Visit the Fisheries Research Branch and talk to the researchers, see the research first hand to understand the positive impact of it, talk to the community so that the Victorian Government can see how important this facilities is to the State.
Why is this important?
In the 1990's the marine and fisheries research facility down by the ferry terminal in Queenscliff had over 100 staff. Over the years staff numbers have been cut back and over the last 2 years the numbers have been cut to a crucially low number of 30. A couple of weeks ago the Victorian Government announced that voluntary redundancy packages will be offered to reduce the remaining 30 positions to merely 14. Staff were given 10 days to decide on their futures. Resources will be cut alongside jobs. Research laboratories will be converted to offices, boats sold, research dive teams will be removed.
The Government has forgotten how important this facility and the people who work there are to the state of Victoria.
The people who work at the Fisheries Research Branch are among the top fisheries scientists in the world. Their work leads to management decisions about Victorian fisheries based on the best understanding of how to support sustainable recreational and commercial fishing, while protecting fisheries for our children and grandchildren. The Queenscliff facility contains the labs, the boats, and most importantly the people needed to undertake world class research and to train a new generation of fisheries researchers. Once these people are gone, Victoria will have lost a vital resource of knowledge and skills.
Fourteen staff is not enough to run this facility and continue to produce quality research on the whole of Victoria's fisheries and marine environment. Already current staff are trying to complete two roles at once. You just have to do the maths to realize that this is not best practice.
Last week the public, recreational fisherman and members of parliament spoke loud enough that the Environment Minister heard their voice! Their views led to the banning of the super trawler. Together we too can make our voices heard. All of us - recreational fisherman, divers, environmentalists, member of the public, people with an interest in Victoria's fisheries and marine areas - need to speak up so the Government realizes how important this facility and its staff are.
Please sign this petition and also write to Minister Peter Walsh, your local member and the papers. Lets get our voice heard.
September 12, 2005 Minister Peter Walsh (when in opposition) is quoted as saying "The Minister for Agriculture must deliver an explanation to the public as to why he is slashing funding for talented scientists and technical officers who work preserve our marine and freshwater environment" and "Once they lose talented staff they'll never be able to get them back". He was right.
PS. There is also a facebook page so the everyone can follow the progress of the campaign and share their own stories at: www.facebook.com/letstryandsavefisheriesandmarinescienceinVictoria