27 August 2012

Tasmanian Police Against Seal Spraying

The Tasmanian Police have stalled progress on a campaign by fish farm workers, wanting to carry OC spray on the job to deter “protected” Australian fur seals. In 2010 Environment, Parks and Heritage Minister, David O’Byrne approved the use of capsicum spray against seals. The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Wildlife and Environment issued 42 permits as of last year to staff of Tassal Operations and Huon Aquaculture. Despite this, OC spray has so far only been used in trials by fish farm workers due to Tasmanian Police refusing to provide exemptions to the Police Offences Act, allowing the carriage of a dangerous article in a public place.

Commissioner, Darrin Hine, stated that Police would be reluctant to issue exemptions without criminal history checks. An audit of 53 farm workers who undertook the training found one with an arrest warrant, two with histories of family violence, two with convictions of assault and one with an outstanding drugs charge. "It is understood that the marine farm workplace has a transient employee population working in often harsh conditions which does not attract people who are always of good repute," a briefing note stated. "The Department of Police and Emergency Management remains concerned at the potential for misuse or mismanagement of this potentially lethal substance," Mr Hine wrote to Department Secretary Kim Evans last year.

The training session undertaken in 2008, had seals placed in cages and sprayed in the face. During the trials seals became “visibly stressed”. A 350kg male fur seal was held over two and half hours in a cage. After being sprayed and taken to a fish pen he jumped at the netting, trying to find a way out. A third seal rubbed at it’s eyes and shook it’s head for 49 minutes. In August 2010, Mr O’byrne approved the use of the spray against seals despite the trial finding it inconclusive whether the spray was effective in deterring seals and the potential to cause a significant health hazard to marine farm industry staff.

Not only are there concerns directly related to the public but also due to the fact that these sprays would not be the 5 per cent sprays used by Tasmanian Police, but be a much higher 35 per cent of cayenne pepper. So far there has been no research on a 35 per cent spray on humans and Police are concerned that this method has not been used anywhere else in Australia.

In an annual report posted last week, Tassal stated that seal interactions were increasing. Other seal deterrents include explosive devices and beanbags shot from a 12-gauge shotgun.

Tassal killed 8 seals in 2011 and relocated 183.

20 August 2012

Stop the Super Trawler

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Time is running out to stop the super trawler, FV Margiris. The decision about the super trawler will be made in a matter of days. The super trawler is twice the size of any vessel that has ever fished in Australian waters. This trawler will be fishing for small pelagic fish, a species absolutely critical to our marine eco system and with numbers already low in Tasmania this can not be allowed to go ahead. These fish are a vital food source for critically endangered Southern Bluefin Tuna, gamefish, seabirds and marine mammals. Not only would the super trawler be devastating to an already low fish population, super trawlers collect a by-catch consisting of seabirds, seals and dolphins who are then thrown back, dead.

A petition to stop the super trawler was made by Rebecca Hubbard with the Stop the Trawler alliance and has already generated over 35,000 signatures which were scrolled on paper fish and delivered to Joe Ludwig, Minister of Fisheries, in Canberra. In it’s final hours the petition needs more signatures, like yours to press this matter and to ensure that this devastating vessel does not kill in Australian waters.

Please sign the petition here on GetUp!
While your at it sign the Greenpeace petition to Stop the Super Trawler too. Go here.

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8 August 2012

Vegan Thai Peanut Curry

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This is probably my favourite recipe in the world. It’s really easy, you make the curry like you would soup so it’s great for serving to a big family or when you’re wanting a LOT of left overs. You can make it as spicy and as sweet as you like. Play around with the quantities of ingredients here, the recipe is not at all exact as I’ve never written it down before, I just throw everything in the pot and change it depending on my mood.

3 tbsp. olive oil
¾ cup crunchy peanut butter
3 tbsp. or more brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tbsp. more or less curry powder (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tbsp. ginger
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 medium potatoes, roughly chopped (more or less depending on how thick and soupy you want it)
1L vegetable stock

  • In a soup pot combine olive oil, peanut butter, brown sugar, curry powder, ginger and onions. Heat and stir until everything has melted into each other.
  • Add in the potatoes and stock, bring to the boil, cover and lower heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  • With a hand mixer, mix up the curry until everything is mixed well.
  • Serve with basmati rice and veggies (mushrooms, carrot, broccoli and spring onion).
  • Enjoy!

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