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Gone Fishing

I am going to take some time out from this blog to try and complete a couple of projects that I’ve started, but am having trouble finishing. So there may be no new posts here for a while.

In the meantime you can subscribe for my irregular email updates here:

And check the ‘Community Home’ page for updates from other readers with their nature photographs and more here:

And here’s a picture I took of a fisher, a darter cormorant, in Kakadu National Park a few years ago.

Interestingly according to one account of life in the Lower Murray in South Australia one hundred years ago there was a bounty on cormorants (that are closely related to darters), with 34,000 taken in one year ostensibly because they ate too many fish [1].

[1] Travels in Australasia, by Wandandian see page 301

26th July 1909 at Caurnamont, near Mannum

‘Birds were very scarce, though we saw one fine old spoonbill wading round the swamp and swinging his head from side to side in the peculiar fashion these birds have while feeding.

On the latter day, while out shooting, I picked up a freshly decapitated turtle of the kind called by the natives “emys,” and on meeting a fisherman enquired of him whether he had caught many, and why it was without a head.

He replied that the turtles were so destructive of fish spawn, that a scalp fee of one penny was paid on the head of each by the Government, and that he caught a good many from time to time.

On further enquiry, I found that in the past year the South Australian Government had paid over £600 in scalping fees to various people for 116,000 turtles and 34,000 cormorants, thus satisfactorily explaining why the cormorants are so shy, and look upon every man with suspicion; for when one contemplates what a hunting they must have in the course of the year to furnish such an enormous “bag,” it would be decidedly strange if they were at all otherwise. In spite of all this I saw hundreds of them on the Murray and lake waters, so that I am sure many must pour in from outside to take the place of those that are shot, and should this be the case it will be many years before their numbers are at all reduced, or the Government get anything like the full value for their money, or even justify its expenditure.’

[Back then Murray cod were plentiful despite the turtles and the cormorant though now there are no Murray cod in that stretch of river below Lock 1.]


3,962 Responses to “Gone Fishing”

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  1. Comment from: gavin

    With all the chatter here it seems nobody followed my link. Any estimates SL. SLR. decel etc from individuals, Marine Boards, even national authorities based on a mere 200y of tide gauge data is probably BS in the extreem unless referenced to the modern Datum outlined below. There are many reasons, the first to be acknowledge ahead of crust movement is G

    An Extract, 4. Datum Control & Leveling

    “4.4.5 Geocentric Co-ordinates and Vertical Land
    Movements of Tide Gauge Benchmarks
    From 2001 to the end of 2005, the International GNSS
    Service (IGS) set up a pilot project called TIGA, which
    is processing and analysing CGPS data from over 100
    tide gauges around the world in a consistent global
    reference frame. The web site ( should be consulted for
    information about the stations and the results that
    are being obtained. The GPS global sea level monitoring network will be a fully integrated component of
    the International GNSS Service – International Earth
    Rotation Service (IGS/IERS) International Terrestrial
    Reference Frame (ITRF). The products from this network are the co-ordinates and velocities of the benchmarks at tide gauge stations. The Permanent Service
    for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) archiving system has been
    designed to bank the vertical crustal velocities derived
    from selected IGS solutions, along with explanatory
    information, including the names of experts who can
    be contacted by users of the system”

  2. Comment from: el gordo

    Fairfax is beginning to buckle under the weight of reality.–an-awakening-4221412.html

    Sorry about the ads.

  3. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Gav, if you think a remote system circling something this shape can measure SLs to within 0.1 mm/year, ya gotta be a non-rational optimist.

    Me, I prefer to measure what’s at my backdoor.

    And you should study that 171 year old Ross/Lempriere mark at PA.

    Even the bed-wetters agree that shows only 13.5 cms of SLR over 171 years whereas it probably shows a fall.

    But either way it’s SFA

    And I don’t think the world will end today.

  4. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Here’s a little something to take your mind off SLR gav. Iron ore mine at Nelson’s Bay:

  5. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes


    Gav, if you think a remote system circling something this shape can measure SLs to within 0.1 mm/year, ya gotta be a non-rational optimist.

    I simply cannot understand gav’s faith in the accuracy of satellite mounted instruments and their measurements.

    He of all people should be aware of the pitfalls, after all he keeps telling us of his exploits in instrument usage, calibrations etc. so he should know that even the best earthbound instruments can’t be 100% accurate.

    And no, the earth will not end today, tomorrow maybe? But certainly not today, mortgage payment is due today.

  6. Comment from: el gordo

    Nooze Flash

  7. Comment from: Graeme M

    I’ve seen that data before. It’s establishing a benchmark for vertical movement of the tide gauge itself isn’t it? Is this important beyond trying to set a level playing field? I can’t see that it is especially noteworthy. Have I missed something?

  8. Comment from: gavin

    SD; assuming satellite circles round our flat earth is dangerous even for you. I said, consider G no1 then other things.When was Port Arthur ever in the list of modern tide datums ?

    JW; ultimately instrument accuracy is a fudge as is perfection. Only by an MOU do we agree on what each perceive. Science and convention must go hand in hand thus grounding our imagination.

    From “Overview of Gloss”

    “The Global Sea-Level Observing System (GLOSS) was
    established by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic
    Commission (IOC) in 1985 to provide such a service.
    GLOSS provides oversight and coordination for global
    and regional sea-level networks in support of, and with
    direction from, the oceanographic and climate research
    communities. GLOSS remains under the auspices
    of the IOC and is one of the observing components
    under the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)/
    IOC Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography
    and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM). GLOSS relies on
    the participation of tide gauge operators to maintain
    tide gauge stations to a research quality standard. At
    present nearly 70 nations participate in the GLOSS

    Re accuracy and sample rates


    The floods in the UK and Netherlands of 1953 might
    be said to have marked the start of ‘operational
    oceanography’ in Europe. In the following years,
    expanded tide gauge networks were established and
    real-time telemetry was developed, such that information on surge levels across the continental shelf
    could be used in combination with tide-surge numerical models to provide flood warnings several days
    ahead. Nowadays, many countries have similar flood
    forecast schemes [Flather, 2000; Alvarez Fanjul et
    al., 2000; Woodworth and Horsburgh, 2011]. Nearreal time sea-level data can also be assimilated into
    other types of ocean models, providing information
    on ecosystems and water quality. The requirements
    in these applications are lower for accuracy (perhaps
    several cm is adequate, i.e. comparable to or better
    than surge model precision), frequency of 1 hour or
    more frequent, and latency of typically within 1 hour
    (i.e. a shorter time than surge development). It is a
    regrettable fact that many major population centres
    in developing countries still do not possess effective
    warning; a list of the main schemes in each region is
    included in Table 7.1 of Woodworth and Horsburgh
    A more extreme example of operational oceanography concerns tsunami monitoring. Following an alert
    of a possible tsunami based on seismic information,
    tide gauge data can be used to verify the existence
    of a real tsunami, or to cancel the alert in the event
    of no tsunami. The tide gauge data are necessarily
    of lower relevance to warnings in their own vicinity,
    rather than to locations further along the tsunami’s
    path. Requirements in this example are less for
    accuracy and datum control rather than frequency
    (e.g. 20 second sampling) and especially latency.
    The latter has stimulated research into new methods
    for transmitting tide gauge information to centres
    as fast as possible (e.g. Holgate et al., [2008]) and
    the implementation of automatic tsunami detection
    algorithms [Pérez et al., 2009].

    Was it Nev who asked for my views on mitigation?

    Apart from engineering of coastline defenses, port structures etc all front line councils need to consider sewer and water treatment locations for both plants and ponds.

  9. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Very interesting eg. Not much SLR there gav. What price Morner?

  10. Comment from: spangled drongo

    “When was Port Arthur ever in the list of modern tide datums ?”

    Answer a simple question gav. When it is arguably the best and longest benchmark we have, why shouldn’t it be?

    Could it be that it is a fundamental [and too-inconvenient] truth?

    Too much evidence for Church and White and the CSIRO.

  11. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    Sorry gav.
    I deal with reality and facts.
    Our clients and their clients in turn would be more than upset if the applications we write and maintain would fudge or just approximate data.

  12. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Gav, in the interests of furthering your education so that you will be across the collapse of the CAGW theory, please read this important message. And don’t shoot the messenger at least till after you have read it:

  13. Comment from: Debbie

    For some reason it looks like it was my turn to have trouble getting a post up?
    This didn’t appear yesterday (in moderation?)
    Putting it up again although Spangled has basically covered most of what I said here.
    Good point also about the comparative volumes dams vs the ocean.

    Well said Graeme,
    Of course it can’t pass the smell test.
    Of course what happens in the real world on the actual coastlines and especially areas that are heavily populated is what matters most.
    Water follows the basic rules of gravity…it will always find equilibrium.
    Someone assumed a dam in QLD can alter the SL of the Pacific Ocean in SEQ?????
    That must be one interesting graph!
    Did they link the research?
    A dam can only hold back a specific quantity of water on a waterway….the only place it can influence water levels is immediately above and below that obstruction.
    The laws of gravity and such things as tides and storm patterns influence the rest.
    As spangled also pointed out, once that dam is full and/or the system is in flood….it has NO influence on what happens downstream.
    All it may be able to do is slow down the inevitable… and only if there was some airspace available to do it.

  14. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    Double check your nick and your email address you post under before submit.
    It’s registered in Jennifer’s database and if it does not match the post goes into moderation.
    All is well if a moderator is available, the delay is only a half hour most, but if not, as is the case at the moment, the post is toast.

  15. Comment from: gavin

    Just on dams v sl

  16. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes


    Not saying anything re. the relevance of the wiki page, but you got me intrigued regarding “biological water”.
    What is it?
    Spent nearly 5 minutes googling and no results, as the lady said, please explain!

  17. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    I just had a brainwave, “biological water”. may be all the water locked up in living things.
    itsok gav don’t bother.

  18. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Gav, do you really think anyone has any accurate knowledge of how much water is in the ground?

    Where I live there are huge aquifers completely separate from the artesian or sub-artesian basins that have never been quantified.

    However what I do know is that in paved-over suburbia, stormwater runoff is a very high percentage whereas in rainforests and natural vegetation it is a very low percentage. In my dam in the rainforest, if it rains 2 inches, my dam rises ~2 inches. In suburbia or on some farms it could rise 2 meters or more.

    So the areas where most people live are probably being drained of ground water and that is somewhat made up for by dams.

    If you have any specific point to make then make it but I suspect your agenda is similar to this:

    Govt by eco-racketeering, sending us broke but still stuffing the ecology.

  19. Comment from: spangled drongo

    And more in similar vein:

    “Australians can take the smug view they are protecting global fish stocks while plundering the resources of other countries — all the while living in a country surrounded by the third-largest fishery zone in the world, of which 40% is now closed”

  20. Comment from: gavin

    “biological water”?

    How about, trees, animals, humans, or anything living?

  21. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    as Maxwell Smart used to say ” I asked you not to bother” I worked it out myself two seconds after I posted the first reply. So I’m slow, so what, big deal.

  22. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Oh gawd, I blew it . I nevva thorta that. The reason my ~70 year benchmark was reading lower is that there were not enough people in swimming.

    Too many swimming pools these days. And speaking of which, that’s another thing. They also cause falling SLs, like dams.

    And then there are those missing Grey Nurse sharks too. Oh well!

    But hold on, there are more whales. They gotta be good for some SLR!

  23. Comment from: gavin

    Only those sober; ever wondered about bio water max?

    SD; whales and fish don’t count

  24. Comment from: el gordo

    The US National Academy of Science (NAS) says AGW is unreal.

  25. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    “Only those sober; ever wondered about bio water max?”

    Shamefully admit of being a teetotaler, so yes I’m sober. The reason I didn’t cotton on the “biological water” straight away because I never heard of it before.

    Then when I realised how insignificant amount it was, it clicked. We can all expire gav and it won’t make the proverbial difference.

    Incidentally I also play the clarinet in the local Salvo band, does that count in my favour or against gav?

  26. Comment from: gavin

    keeping eg up to date here

  27. Comment from: gavin

    JW; anyone who masters a musical instrument reaches the highest level in my book

  28. Comment from: spasngled drongo

    Still waiting for geeenhouse [and for gav to make a lucid point]

    But I love the SS link where the warmers shoot themselves in the foot.

    Give up on the drive-bys and make your own points or at least comment on them with reason for doing so.

  29. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Are you trying to claim, for instance, that there is a major bio-mass change in the world that is affecting SLs?

    And by bio-mass I mean all living things.

  30. Comment from: Graeme M

    el gordo, that is a remarkable post by O’Sullivan. I have to suspect the poor guy has really lost it in his efforts to proves the Slayers are right. That paper does nothing to support the argument against AGW other than to not specifically describe the physical process as the ‘greenhouse effect’. But it does a fair job of describing exactly what the notion suggests. And it comes up with numbers close to modern numbers.

    AGW may not be happening as the warmists believe, but this paper in no way invalidates the ‘greenhouse effect’ concept. What the post DOES do is to make O’Sullivan look more foolish than usual. I trust no other blog will touch it with a barge pole.

  31. Comment from: Debbie

    Thanks JW,
    good chance I didn’t correctly type my email.
    Same applies in my area.
    Many different aquifers, some fresh and some brackish.
    Also underground water from leakages from the rivers and streams.
    I don’t see how Gav’s wiki reference changes or adds to anything you, Graeme or I wrote re the releationship to dams in places like SEQ and SL.
    Dams, weirs etc only temporarily change the speed & direction of in stream water to suit human requirements.
    It still always runs downhill and it still always follows the laws of gravity.
    Any changes to SL would only be extremely local and very tiny. The effect globally would be zippo.
    If the argument is that dams are preventing SLR then maybe we should have more of them?
    Why don’t whales and fish count?
    They also use and displace water don’t they?

  32. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Is this one on your favourite list, gav?

  33. Comment from: el gordo

    ‘I trust no other blog will touch it with a barge pole.’

    Watts never touches his stuff, which is a fair indication he’s on the nose.

  34. Comment from: spangled drongo

    eg, as an agnostic, I wouldn’t write JO’S off too soon. There is so much that can’t be quantified by simple experiments and there is so much fudging going on to confuse us, that all it simply seems to be saying is; hang sceptical.

    When you nearly expire at 40c in a humid climate but can toil happily at 50c in a dry climate, RH is the big elephant.

    But if you are in the public gaze today you probably have to be at least a lukewarmer or you would never get free of the spittle.

    The beagle shows us some of the wonders of Christmas:

  35. Comment from: Debbie

    Great article by Josephine Kelly in the Australian.
    Does anyone know how to post the whole article up?
    You have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing.

  36. Comment from: Graeme M

    “Any changes to SL would only be extremely local and very tiny. The effect globally would be zippo.” I am with you Debbie. I haven’t read any relevant research, but surely the effect of damming, if at all measurable, would be local only and for a limited period. Sure, initially damming a large river might have an effect (tho I doubt it), but over time as SD observes wouldn’t sea level regain its equilibrium? By that I mean that actual sea level may remain lower there than elsewhere, but RATES of rise should reflect any broader trend, especially over 50-100 years. It is after all global SLR we are worried about.

  37. Comment from: spangled drongo

    One thing we can be sure of, the “plundering” of the earths unknowable commons by all creatures great and small will see much retribution wreaked upon us by our budget-keeper betters, aka the high moral greens and we will have to atone.

    ♪ We know you won’t be missed so we’ll put you on the list. ♪

  38. Comment from: spangled drongo

    When Clinton suggested putting cops in schools it was OK. When the NRA suggests it, they are mad:

  39. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    Globular warmening is here, for the second time this year we had to turn on the AC!

    sd you are an innocent! don’t you know, anything coming from the approved sources is good otherwise all evil!

  40. Comment from: John Sayers

    I’ve been told this works Debbie

  41. Comment from: John Sayers


    JOSEPHINE KELLY From: The Australian December 22, 2012 12:00AM

    FARMERS are the new threatened species in the Murray-Darling Basin. Dry-land farmers such as Louise Burge and Ian Lobban, who have been the subjects of recent articles in The Australian, as well as farmers who are irrigators. Environment Minister Tony Burke ensured their threatened status when he presented the Murray-Darling Basin plan in parliament on November 22.

    Farmers are not part of the environment protected by the Water Act, nor a species protected by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, the commonwealth’s environmental leviathan.

    The Water Act was misconceived by the Howard government under environment minister Malcolm Turnbull, in response to one of the severest droughts since white settlement. The 2007 election was looming. Green votes and South Australian seats were thought to be crucial. Water allocation for the environment is paramount under the Water Act. Social and economic effects come a poor second. The two million people in the basin do not rate.

    Environmental activists and vested interests in South Australia demanded that more water flow to the end of the river system, to save the Lower Lakes, Alexandrina and Albert, and the Coorong, where the Murray mouth is located. There was no rigorous analysis of whether that demand was justified. Decision-makers did not consider the impact on the environment of the construction of more than 7km of barrages, built in the 1930s, that destroyed the Murray estuary and created artificial freshwater lakes, or of the extensive drainage works in southeastern SA, which particularly affect the Coorong.

    It was the desire to protect this recently created, manmade freshwater environment that drove the demand for 4000 gigalitres to flow to the end of the Murray.

    The campaign for more water for SA was executed very effectively across a long period. The essential message was accepted unquestioningly: the environmental degradation in the Lower Lakes and the Coorong was caused by “greedy irrigators” upstream on the Murray-Darling. The drought fuelled the propaganda campaign as campaigners took advantage of the global anxiety about anthropogenic climate change. Photographs showing low water levels in the Lower Lakes did not show the 7km of barrages keeping out the Southern Ocean, which otherwise would have flowed in and raised the water level.

    Burke continued the propaganda when he appeared on the ABC’s Insiders on November 25. He cited the example of a species disappearing from the Coorong during the last drought and not returning, despite rain, to illustrate the environmental degradation that had occurred. Did anyone consider that the alleged loss of species might have been the result of the destruction of the estuary by the barrages or the drainage works affecting the Coorong, carried out years ago in the interests of settlers, rather than the result of “greedy upstream irrigators”? I don’t think so.

    The “more water for the Lower Lakes and the Coorong” campaign had a crucial legal underpinning. In 1985, 140,500ha of the Lower Lakes and the Coorong were listed as wetlands of international significance under the UN Ramsar Convention, which allows the listing of artificially created wetlands. That is one of the international conventions on which the Water Act depends for its constitutional validity, relying on the High Court’s decision in the 1983 Tasmanian dam case, which expanded the commonwealth’s power to legislate based on international treaties it entered into.

    Another is the Convention on Biological Diversity, which gives the federal government the power to protect threatened species. – but s Sadly, the government has not protected the threatened human species: farmers and those who depend on them in the basin communities.

    Burke’s last conjuring trick to finalise the plan was a deal to placate SA Premier Jay Weatherill and avoid the state’s threatened High Court challenge. On October 26, Julia Gillard, Burke and Weatherill announced a new policy at a joint press conference in Goolwa, near the Lower Lakes and the Coorong. The Prime Minister was quite direct about its purpose: “This plan is one that we’ve worked with the Premier of South Australia on. It will see 450 gigalitres of water being preserved for South Australia.”

    The cost will be another $1.77 billion to return environmental water from on-farm efficiencies and by relaxing key operating constraints, artificial barriers to water flow, including dam releases and maximum flow restrictions. As a result, the plan returns a total of 3200GL of water to the environment at a cost of nearly $12bn. The Goolwa policy will not take effect until 2014 – after the next election – and the funding extends across 10 years, with only $55 million falling within the 2014-16 forward estimates period. The present government will spend nothing.

    The problem for Burge, Lobban and hundreds of other farmers on the Victorian and NSW banks of the Murray below the Hume Weir is that there is no water delivery plan. Relaxing operating constraints will subject their properties to new floods. Productive land will be lost, access to land may be difficult and essential farm activities prevented or hindered at crucial times. There is also no provision for compensation in the legislation and no funding. Legally, it will be a costly mess.

    Burke’s plan reduces water for irrigators in the basin. It will flood farms along the Murray in NSW and Victoria when artificial barriers to water flow are relaxed. His plan will benefit South Australians by increasing water flows into a freshwater body artificially created and maintained by the single most important artificial barrier to water flow in the Murray-Darling system – the barrages that remain steadfastly shut against flows from the Southern Ocean.

    The basic premise of the plan is nonsense.

    Josephine Kelly is a Sydney barrister.

  42. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    paging Moso bamboo grower. (sorry I forgot your nick)

    My wife Pamela wants to try a Philippine recipe that calls for bamboo shots.
    I inadvertently mentioned that bamboo shoots contain cyanide as you said in your post.

    Is it safe to use when tinned? Stupid question I know otherwise half the population would have been dead already but to put her mind to rest.


  43. Comment from: Graeme M

    Thanks SD, I’ve never visited Deltoid before but I’m having a ball. I know nuthin’ about SLR but it’s not stopping me amusing myself.

    Bolt for PM…

  44. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    Graeme M
    “Bolt for PM…”

    Sorry Graeme can’t think of a more unsuitable man for politics and thank God he knows it too.
    And in case he doesn’t Sally does!

    Same goes for M Turnbull, why he ever bothered? I have few ideas but not publicly.

  45. Comment from: spangled drongo

    John, sadly this country’s in for a rude shock if it doesn’t treat it’s food producers a lot better.

    JW, this weather pattern that blows a cool easterly gradient onto SE Qld and N NSW which then becomes a northerly that warms the southern capitals is a common Christmastime event. Up till now you have been getting a much cooler summer than we have.

    We don’t have the looxury of ac.

    Hopefully a cool change and a bit of rain is on the way.

  46. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    sd you a cricket fan?

    Not much to look forward to this summer, hope I’m proved wrong.
    Thanks for cricket being cricket anything can happen.

    I’m not complaining about the heat, had far worse and survived when working for Newman mining at Mt Newman and Pt Hedland.

  47. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Graeme and John, good to see you both pointing out some honest facts to the doltoids. Seeing as BJ put in an appearance I made another comment there.

    Always follow the cricket JW. Used to play a bit out in the bush but never very well. I was just talking to an 89 year old team mate on the phone in Longreach a couple of days ago. We played our last game in Stonehenge in 1959. He reckons he’s not old yet but he could be next year.

  48. Comment from: Graeme M

    Don’t worry JW, Bolt won’t be PM anytime soon. That’s just a tease to spark the doltoids up a bit. It’s always good to help their preconceived notions along.

    SD, that post and thread is a beauty. As I say, I can’t argue from the science nor have I even the most basic stats knowledge. But if they want to display a couple of graphs that scream out to me DECELERATION and then argue it shows acceleration, well… you can’t help but have a go can you.

  49. Comment from: gavin

    Deb; re your Q accounting marine life in the SL budget, consider your average jelly fish v a cuttle fish bone, both left high and dry by the outgoing tide. In the sea they don’t count and on the beach they don’t count either but our jolly JW will find that hard to swallow. What comes out of the ocean and stays out isn’t much at all.

    SD, I hope you weren’t serious about that snatch from wuwt re asteroids and atmospheric earth. When I found the source embedded in an article about more general green house risk we find only a comment attributed to your NEAT guy. No scientific paper necessary to get blogsphere rolling again.

    While you guys have time to cultivate stories, I have been growing things in compost and checking out the goods from regulars at our market. Today a small mixed bag of citrus from Leyton way who can discuss changing irrigation costs associated with MDB transition. I suggested he seek support from Buller Ent re Lion Inc and their farm gate prices.

  50. Comment from: el gordo

    ‘…you can’t help but have a go can you.’

    No… and not seeing the gatekeeper I slipped in and uttered a few words. If I don’t get thrown out on my ear I’ll return tomorrow with something more intelligent to say.

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