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Watching a fishing program called ‘Big Fish Small Boats’ featuring three blokey blokes trolling for Mako Sharks, I was amazed to hear the presenter suddenly eyeball the camera and issue a climate change dogwhistle. The presenter, Al McGlashan, said (to paraphrase):

‘The Labor Government recently tried to ban fishing for Mako Sharks based on false science, but the results of the tag and release program showed the Mako are still in plentiful numbers. Now we can continue to enjoy wonderful fishing expeditions such as these.’

What the..? False science ? That sounds just like the denialist phrase ‘Junk Science’ and coupled with the reference to the ALP and tied in with activities directly based on interaction with the natural environment…He’s not dogwhistling is he ?

He is.

Al McGlashan was No.2 on the NSW Senate ticket for the Shooters and Fishers Party in the 2010 Federal Election. Here’s how he went, with S&F gaining the highest primary vote of the minor parties, finally excluded on count 32 of 35 and pushing the Liberal Party candidate into a quota.

The Shooters and Fishers are AGW denialists. Their pamphlets and platform papers are full of references to deep-green climate alarmist extermists. In fact, their election materials mention the Greens as much as they do the S&F itself. The S&F could just as well be named “The Anti-Green Party” as that is largely how they present and publicize themselves and their objectives.

McGlashan described his decision to stand for the Senate in the Sydney Angler forum:

Basically guys I am running as a fishing rep for the Shooters and Fishers becuase I am sick having my rights to fish being eroded away by radical greenies who sit eating canned tuna talking about how bad fishing is!

The Proposed Mako Ban And Reprieve

As Fishing World reported in November 2009, the Mako Shark was added to the species listed in Appendix II of the international Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). Under laws introduced by the LNP Howard Government any species listed in either Appendix of the CMS was automatically banned from catch in Australia.

RecFish, the national organisation representing recreational fishermen, along with commercial operators, then lobbied the ALP government to rescind the ban which was duly done by Environment Minister Peter Garrett in January 2010.

The rationale for overturning the decision was that the listing in the CMS was on the basis of severely reduced Mako numbers in the Mediterranean Sea but that Mako in Australian waters do not migrate to the Mediterranean and therefore the reason for the listing was irrelevant to Australian Mako.

As a spokesman for Garrett put it:

“Noting the lack of evidence suggesting that Australian populations of these shark species face the same threats as other parts of the world, the government will be moving to make legislative changes to address the ongoing uncertainty for recreational fishers”

No False Science

Which leaves me wondering what McGlashan was on about. The CMS ban on Mako was not based on false science and was not based on ALP legislation. Mediterranean numbers were indeed down so the scientific basis was sound. Garrett listened to RecFish, took into account the Australia scientific data and lifted the ban based on that data.

McGlashan’s claim that the Mako ban was based on Labor shenanigans enabled by false science was itself false in both of its premises. Garrett’s department simply enacted the laws on the books, laws created by the Liberals uner John Howard. Garrett then modified those laws in the face of popular representation and scientific data. Isn’t that really a textbook example of the ALP behaving in responsible democratic fashion ?

McGlashan is close enough to the issue to understand the reality of what transpired and why but chose to be fast and loose with his telling of the story: anything the better castigate the deep-green extremist alarmists, even to injecting some anti-AGW, anti-Green dogwhistles into his otherwise highly entertaining television program.

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