Greg James
Marine Parks

Please note: These opinions/views are just that, opinions and views. Greg James does not have a marine science or marine biology qualification, much less experience. Greg is however, a 5th generation South Aussie with a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Tasmania. Greg's grandfather (Fred Cawte) wrote the school mental arithmetic book "The Pathfinder". Greg's father is a 2/9th Battalion Rat of Tobruk & his mother has an OAM for her work in establishing the SA School Council networks. Greg's mother also served in Z Special Unit Intelligence Section during World War 11.
Greg has a rippa Missus James, son, and daughter! Greg, a passionate fisho', is currently a member of the Marine Parks Council of South Australia and a past member of MP 13 Local Advisory Group, has weekly radio segments on ABC891 and ABC639 on your am band (check this website for details).

July 2013: Determining the success (or otherwise) of S.A.'s Marine Parks

One of the mistakes I believe being made by governments, scientists and experts the world over is that the success or otherwise of a Marine Protected Area is measured only on the 'proof' coming from marine scientific research and study.

In my humble opinion, this is foolhardy and disrespectful to the vast majority of our citizens and population because of its narrow, often impossible to prove, myopic structures and arguments. Professional or non-professional, qualified or unqualified, voting and tax-paying generational Australians all need a lot more than the disputed marine models often put up to back an argument or position based on so-called defended hypotheses of science and biology.

A classic example of this in Australia is the on-going and often vitriolic debate about the design, implementation and evaluation of marine parks.

A vast improvement is to use and expand on the following critical elements or factors in determining the success of a marine park. These elements also bring ownership and product credibility to the very people who are ultimately left with the responsibility of ensuring marine protected areas are not only successful, but honoured and respected for the work that they do.

The critical factors/elements are:

  1. Ensure we have a design and evaluation framework that reflects the actual structure of South Australia's marine estate. It is a series of relatively small and reasonably isolated caches of ocean that are totally unlike the huge MPA's such as the Great Barrier Reef and the proposed Ross Sea.
  2. Establish a non-governmental public organisation that acts as democratically elected legal and advocacy body to provide strong leadership and management advice to governments and others on the enhancement of the State's marine park system/
  3. Establish a legal framework that protects the marine estate in all jurisdictions.
  4. Design an over-arching "Prescriptive Use Strategy" to continually collect, analyse and prove operational evidence and scientific data.
  5. Establish a private-sector funded "Marine Scientist in Residence" program for each Marine Park that delivers vertically integrated knowledge and research results.
  6. Designate a specific base-line in 2014 for each Marine Park based on inherent natural oceanic habitat and species residence criteria.
  7. Ensure one of the KPI's for each Marine Park is linked to an increase in Knowledge Outcomes and Social/Community Knowledge Capital improvement.
  8. Focus strategies on the indisputable "All Species Protection" philosophy in the respective management plans for each marine park.
  9. Develop a "Community and Business Investment" policy and prospectus that ensures local community, indigenous groups and business operators all have an opportunity to benefit from the marine park network.
  10. Develop a series of educational teaching and learning resources for both our schools and the broader community that reflects the value, integrity and future of marine life in SA.

Marine Parks Compact

Read Greg James' new paper 'Marine Parks of S.A. - A New Mission-Based Compact"

Marine Parks of S.A. - A Reality Check Please!

An opinion from Greg James

Are we living in Australia? Or maybe the powers above have moved little old South Australia into the northerly aspects of 1930's Siberia in the last few months?

Some of the recently reported comments are so opinionated, one-sided & partial that one is almost ashamed to think these words could be written in modern-day times.

It is the opinion of Greg James that the Marine Parks debate needs to be robust & informed, not driven by inflammatory comments from self-seeking & self-serving by-standers, who have no real interest in the core issues, but rather are using the opportunity to expand their own agendas. Any actions perpetrated by such individuals which verbally attack an Australian (public servant) merely doing his/her public duty needs to take a deep breath & just remember a few common decencies that should be an automatic part of being an Aussie.

The facts (called agreed science by the academics) are that Australia's marine habitats & inhabitants are under threat like never, ever before. There is simply much less of everything & anything - and that is predominantly because humans have had the opportunity to harvest & exploit the beautiful natural resources of our Southern, Pacific, Indian & Arafura Oceans on a scale that was simply unheard of - even 10 years ago.

The argument about Marine Parks & Sanctuary Zones should not be just about money, or peoples' rights, or lost opportunities etc - it is untenable that we do not act now & in a dramatic & forthright way to protect what in fact is not 'ours' - but an unalienable responsibility to preserve & protect an absolutely unique marine treasure. Do we really envisage another 'Murray River' disgrace - 4 million years for it to form, 200 years to stuff it up?

The next time you look at the Earth Atlas from the library, ask yourself why Southern Australia's coastline is the only one (1) of three (3) continents in the Southern Hemisphere that runs east-west, when the other two (2) run north-south?

The millions of years that this has been so has shaped & evolved both the natural sub-marine habitat & its creatures that just does not exist anywhere else on the globe.

So - I ask Minister Paul Caica & our State Government to get ridgy didge and:

  • Engage a professional & independent consultant to assume control & leadership of the entire process - DENR cannot be both an arbitrator of the Marine Parks system & also implement the process - this simply makes them a target & a victim of 'conflict of interest' accusations, which are inaccurate, but nonetheless damaging & limiting in overall outcome effectiveness.
  • Request real demonstrated leadership from the Marine Parks Council of SA - strangely silent to date.
  • Declare upfront the compensation of professional fishers who can demonstrably prove their livelihoods have been/will be affected
  • Allocate reparation funds to dis-affected professional fishers (ie compensation) within the Marine Parks to a minimum of five (5) years income.
  • Declare upfront the protection of recreational fishers 'rights' to enjoy the activity.
  • Put in place a 10 year monitoring plan with a designated Marine Scientist allocated to each Marine Park in South Australia.
  • Undertake a series of regional macro & micro business impact studies that undeniably demonstrate where the business negatives are most likely to be of a major status.
  • Then design & construct 25 year regional economic growth plans that offset any identified negative financial & social impacts of the Marine Parks.
  • Be upfront with what UN funds are being made available for the global Marine Park implementation plan.

And, above all - bring the South Australian community alongside & transfer all the current anger & anxiety into a far more positive force that achieves more than will now be the case if the current process continues unabated.

The octopus' garden will thank us forever - and we will truly be caretakers & custodians of our coast.

Some thoughts from Greg James about a responsible way forward with community engagement on the sanctuary zones within the Marine Parks of S.A.

Recommendation 1:

All new drawings of changes to the layout of the Statewide sanctuary zones will generally be very good & should be seriously considered by the Minister & DENR...

We need to set a timeframe for this - there should be no rush & even less sanctimony - and it may require several trips to the negotiation table to achieve a form of consensus.

Recommendation 2:

The Marine Park LAGroups should ask for an independent evaluation of the scientific value of the proposed sanctuary zones

Recommendation 3:

The Marine Park LAGroups should ask for an independent economic impact study be under-taken, initially as a sub-regional micro assessment to include immediate & adjacent local communities & them morph into a macro Statewide project...

Absolutely critical to address what are true & worrying signs from our Community that feels under threat.

Recommendation 4:

The Marine Park LAGroups should request the Minister appoint a qualified marine scientist be attached to each Marine Park for a minimum period of 5 years to assist local community groups understanding & management processes - such as details of the juvenile & marine species incubation areas to be formally identified...

This where we start to sort fact from fiction

Recommendation 5:

The Marine Park LAGroups should move to form several working parties to address specific issues & ask for further assistance from members of the general public...

Invite them to part of the process & engage them in a forthright & meaningful way

Re: "Greg James Marine Parks Economic Impact Study/Report"

An economic impact assessment determines the contribution of tourism activity (in this case recreational fishing) to a region's economy.

Individual & combined economic impact studies for communities affected by Marine Park no-take sanctuary zones will also reveal the critical interrelationships among local eco-nomic sectors and provide some estimates of the changes that will most certainly take place in an economy due to the existing or proposed action.

Simply put an Economic Impact Study is a variety of economic analyses or assessments car-ried out to evaluate, quantify or support tourism-related decisions – I have listed a few below:

  • Demand Analysis
    How & when will the number or types of visitors to our State fishing regions decrease as a result of changes in where visitors & locals alike are prevented from fishing? A demand analysis predicts the number and/or types of visitors to an area via forecasting, demand or use estimation models.
  • Economic Impact Analysis
    What is the contribution of tourism activity to the economy of the region? An economic impact analysis maps the flow of tourism spending associated with tourism activity in a region to identify changes in sales, tax revenues, income and jobs due to tourism activity. The methods used to gather this information include: visitor spending surveys; analyses of secondary data from government economic statistics; economic base models; input-output models; and multipliers.
  • Fiscal Impact Analysis
    Will government revenues from tourism activity, in the form of GST taxes, direct fees and other sources cover the additional costs for infrastructure and government services brought about by arbitrary application of no-take sanctuary zones? Fiscal impact analysis identifies changes in demand for government utilities and services that have occurred as a result of decrease in tourism-related action, and estimates the revenues and costs to local government of providing these services.
  • Benefit/Cost (B/C) Analysis
    How will a no-take sanctuary zone policy generate the highest net benefit to the community over time? A B/C analysis estimates the relative economic efficiency of alternative policies by comparing benefits and costs over time. Benefit cost analysis identifies the most efficient policies from the perspective of societal welfare, generally taking into account both monetary and non-monetary values, whereas economic impact analysis only measures benefits from actual market transactions (flows of money) and focuses on regional distribution of income, not economic efficiency.

Have Your Say!

Work is well underway in the design & public consultation process for the 19 new Marine Parks in South Australia. This enormous task is being ably led by the knowledgeable, capable & committed staff of the DEH & in Greg James personal opinion is giving the best possible opportunity for people to have their say.

A new tool has been designed to bring in all that anecdotal and more factual information as well to the planning & application procedures. This tool is called “SAMPIT” and some further details are as follows. Greg James would like to acknowledge the main source of this information being the State Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH). Greg James is also a member is one of the State’s 19 Marine Park Local Advisory Groups.

How to use SAMPIT

SAMPIT is a simple step-by-step process designed to help you participate in the creation of South Australia’s marine parks and you can use SAMPIT to map your favourite spots for fishing, boating or places you think need environmental protection.

This information will help the community and the Government work together to agree where marine park zones should go and will also be used by Marine Parks Local Advisory Groups to develop suggestions for future marine park management, including zoning.

To use SAMPIT on the internet:

  • Access the SAMPIT website.
  • Fill in your contact details.
  • Selext your activity OR identify areas of conservation value.
  • Select a marine park.
  • When the map has zoomed into the park, select the areas where you enjoy a particular activity.
  • When finished, select another activity OR select another marine park OR save and exit.
  • If you make a mistake, you can delete the relevant activity

Would you like a printed copy? A printable version of SAMPIT can be downloaded from the Marine Parks of S.A. website, or phone 1800 006 120 and ask the marine parks team to post you a copy.

Marine Park Local Advisory Group

The first Marine Park Local Advisory Group meetings have commenced with the inaugural meetings well attended by members of the public as well as the nominated members from each Local Advisory Group (LAG). Greg James is a member of one such group and although he cannot speak on behalf of the group, Greg can talk about matters that are raised during the meeting – but it is his personal view and interpretation.

The agenda of these meetings covered some hot topics, such as:

  • How is community input being sourced and validated?
  • Communications Plan
  • Marine Park values
  • Mapping community input

Roles of Marine Park Local Advisory Groups

Marine Park LAG's consist of anywhere between 12 plus members (all voluntary) who are prepared to honestly and vigorously support marine park development in South Australia. The LAG members also must be able to demonstrate:

  • A commitment to the creation of multi-use marine parks in SA
  • A desire to represent themselves as individuals but also with a knowledge and/or interest in other community sectors or groups
  • Reside within or have close links to the communities adjacent (next to) a marine park

Membership is for an initial period of up to three (3) years. The role and function is to perform a range of important duties such as developing effective local/state networks to advise & input into the social, environmental, economic and cultural use of marine parks., development of a draft marine park management plan., advise on zoning arrangements., advocate for the marine parks and the involvement of local communities in this process.

2007/08 SA Recreational Fishing Survey Report

Although not directly related to Marine Parks – has just been released & is available on line at At a glance, the following items have been identified in the report:

  • Approx 236000 people fish go fishing in SA each year – about 1/5th of our population
  • People using jetties, boat ramps & inland waterways were surveyed
  • Key questions inc the topics of:
    •  who goes fishing?
    • where & how often do they fish?
    • species targeted by fishers?
    • species released by fishers?
  • Boat fishers totalled over 540,000 days out on the water
  • Beach & jetty fishers totalled over 520,000 days out fishing

Greg James would like to acknowledge the source of this information, namely the Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA

Q: Does the zoning & legislation of each Marine Park cover the issue of Mining approvals to be granted to companies/individuals or is this approval at the behest of the Ministers responsible???


Previous Discussion Topics


Topic One:

Marine Parks (MP) – how many and where are they? There are 19 designated marine parks along the SA coastline. Email me for the exact locations! Each MP has an exact number of co-ordinates which can be identified by latitude and longitude fix (GPS). There are 13 MP Advisory Committees which are soon to be announced – watch this space for more information...............


Topic Two:

Marine Parks (MP) – why do we need them ? International and local research is finally starting to arrive at an agreed position (the academics call it ‘settled science') of realising that certain areas of the world's coast have different functions and yet inherent, connected benefits that are aligned and linked in ways not thought possible. An example is how long-time fishers just know that juvenile KG whiting inhabit certain parts of the SA coast, at certain depths, at certain defined habitats and at certain and distinct times and they are just that – juvenile – and do not move into mainstream ‘whiting life' until they develop to a particular point – hence the need to protect them in Marine Parks.........a hot topic will this one be!!!!


Topic Three:

Marine Parks (MP) – how can I be involved or kept informed? Greg James believes that all these MP's should have some/all of the following at a minimum:

•  A monitoring plan with very specific features – all uses

•  2010 benchmarks (you and I call them ‘lines in the sand') as a starting point so we can tell if anything is achieved, based on both quantifiable and empirical evidence

•  Community interest capacity

•  Business interest capacity

•  Local champions

•  A state as well as local charter

•  True indication of State, Federal and Local Govt willingness to listen, plan, fund and encourage the success of these MP's

•  Terms of Reference and rules of engagement (policies, due process, ethics)

•  KPI's – results as both an intrinsic and commercial measure of improvement

•  Resources

Your comments are most welcome –email me on