A group of concerned residents recently sought Freedom of Information documents relating to the lifting of the spearfishing ban in February last year at Marino Rocks. This ban had been in place for 30 years. The FOI documents revealed:
Only “targeted” stakeholders were invited to respond to a review of the spearfishing ban including retail spearfishing outlets and clubs but not other users such as conservation groups, marine scientists or resident groups.
- To quote the aims of the review, “The need for internal and targeted consultation has been identified as an integral component of the review”. In other words, the review was not independent and intentionally skewed towards groups who supported the proposition.
- There was no discussion of a scientific assessment of the impact of lifting the ban on marine life .
- Several submissions opposing the lifting of the ban were apparently ignored including City of Holdfast Bay, Marine Life Society SA, Mike Bossley.
- The substantial submissions of the two councils (Cities of Marion and Onkaparinga) were given the same weight as those of partisan lobbyists such as the spearfishing clubs.
A meeting with the minister has been requested but no date has yet been offered.