Sunday, March 28, 2010


There is a story brewing here in Australia that is rather major. Its a big deal, and the Australian population at-large, let alone the world, doesn't seem to realise what is happening. Many people would be aware of the Great Barrier Reef, and most have a nebulous, erroneous idea that it needs to be "saved".

Marine scientist Walter Starck has just outlined some of the mismanagement issues of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), as well as an emerging issue of gross academic misconduct, and has published these over at Quadrant Online. Rather than copying and pasting the story from Quadrant, I would recommend people go there and read the whole thing, which is available in pdf.

In a very simple nutshell: GBRMPA has just been outed for some major academic malfeasance, which they had perpetrated in the hopes of turning the entire Coral Sea off of the north eastern coast of Australia into a Marine Protected Area (which they would then get to "manage" - leading to a massive increase in the size, power and funding of their organisation.) They are acting in concert with NGO's such as the Pew Trust which is slinging around major funding dollars behind the scenes. Given GBRMPA's and the Pew trust's track record, this can only be a bad thing.

There is a huge backstory to all of this that is desperately at odds with much of the public's (generally wrongful) perception of the reef,which I will try and outline in upcoming posts.

Suffice it to say this story has everything:

* Beaurocratic bungling.
* Misrepresentation of research.
* Failure to declare major conflicts of interest.
* A major US scientific journal.
* Huge and poorly concealed hidden agendas.
* Destruction of people's livelihoods and an entire, almost extinct fishing industry.
* Collusion between politicians and NGO's such as the Pew Trust (aka "The Face of Evil"). (Which is so poorly concealed its scary. When you look at the story on Quadrant, cast your eye to the google ads on the page - a frequent one to appear based on the key words in the article is one inviting you to sign a petition to make 100% of the Coral Sea a reserve. If you go to the site, it is maintained by a bunch of conservation societies, including the Pew Trust. Which is such a perfect illustration of their presence in all of this.)

Edit: After pointing out the google ads from the Pew Trust over at Quadrant, it appears they have disabled them on that page. Update me if you find something different!

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