Excuses and red herrings

Some of the "reasons" given for not establishing marine reserves, for delaying action, or for charging off in different directions are so common they are worth listing. Just knowing these ideas in advance helps to prepare replies. In addition, realising that these hoary old excuses will be trotted out "as sure as the sun will rise" provides mental protection against any suggestion they have real force or sense, however loudly they are shouted, or however many people are initially taken in.

1. Who says I'm doing any harm, what's the problem anyway.....
(and I don't believe in insurance, either.)
2. There are too many restrictions, already.
(Don't ask if they achieve something worthwhile- just count them!)
3. I've always fished off this rock - it's my right!
(like my right to hunt moa!)
4. Why here? Not in my back yard. Somewhere else is better.
(indeed, anywhere else.)
5. It's not my department. Don't bother me - I'm busy! They will deal with it.
(Who?.......and is that a blank cheque?)
6. We need more research to find the right places, sizes, boundaries etc.
(when we've counted and mapped all copepods, whales, sponges, kelps and kina round the entire coast, we will know just what to do.)
7. We need more consultation. We mustn't upset the....
(and if anyone says boo! we will run away)
8. Yes, but one at a time! We should proceed cautiously.
(like 3 reserves in 25 years)
9. How could you police it?
(more easily than getting people to pay taxes - which is clearly impossible.)
10. Can I still catch fish?
(translate as: "I am not just selfish, but short-sighted and in need of protection.")
11. Only after we've sorted out the quota system, a Maori fishing policy, drift nets, coastal resource management, the economy, plastic debris, etc.
(which, of course, will only take a few days.)
12. We must first produce the general policy, state the precise aims, organise appropriate guidelines, arrange management policies, etc.
(and bury the whole question in bureaucratic bulldust.)
13. Just get rid of the trawlers, the set-netters, the drift nets, the large boats, the outsiders and everything will be fine.
(for me and my mates, and blow you, Jack)
14. Our waters are so cold (or murky or rough) there's no point in a marine reserve here.
(if I can't look at it and say: "How pretty!" - there's no point at all.)
 
Bill Ballantine
 
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