Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Very fishy: Australia fails to see ocean for the fish

By Frances O'Brien - posted Friday, 22 June 2012

The world has come together at the Rio+20 Summit on sustainable development to decide our future and Australia is travelling under the banner of "Champion of the 'Blue Economy'".

For the people of the Pacific, developed and developing alike, it is not a moment too soon.

The 'Blue Economy' is a concept which calls for sustainable ocean management to be at the basis of economic development. The Pacific Region has high hopes for its acceptance, given their deep relationship with the ocean.


In a report by the Center for Ocean Solutions, the Pacific Islands were identified as vulnerable to threats such as pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and ocean acidification.

These impacts will also affect the developed nations of Australia and New Zealand.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr acknowledged these concerns, focusing on island states as befitting Australia's self-proclaimed role as champion.

"Small island developing states live most directly with the disastrous reality of climate change," Senator Carr said.

Yet Australia's plan of action reeks suspiciously of fish.

Four out of Australia's six original desired Rio+20 oceans outcomes relate to fisheries. There was little mention of other important marine issues such as ocean acidification and coral reef protection.


One government spokesperson denied that this prioritisation of fisheries had come at the cost of other issues. However, another government spokesperson admitted that this focus was purely for tactical reasons.

Much of Australia's participation in collaborative regional activities are also fish-related.

In 2011, for example, the Australian army and border security services were part of the largest regional monitoring and surveillance operation of fisheries in the Pacific region, where fisheries are an important source of income.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

4 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Frances O'Brien is a member of the Global Voices Rio+20 Australian Youth Delegation and a student at Macquarie University's Global Leadership Program.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 4 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy