The story by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author is available on-line at Taipei Times.
December and January is a volatile time in Australia. It’s the season when we have either a lot of rain or fires everywhere. At present most of the east coast in being effected by heavy rains and floods. Next year or the year after it will be bush fires.
Usually the best weather happens in April – our autumn.
The Australian government is proposing a super-fast broadband network to 95% of dwellings. Called the National Broadband Network. Some politicians do not wish to spend the vast sum of money involved.
In my opinion if someone cannot see the value of a 100MB broadband system, they just do not understand the internet.
ADSL2+ connections in Australia work well within Australia. Connecting and sending material overseas is a lot slower with my connection.
The demonstration I saw by the Classroom of the Future people makes it clear that in just the area of education, Australia needs the fastest speed available. All text books can be downloaded to each student computer. Teachers and student communicate via computers, the digital ‘blackboard’ is connected to each student computer.
Building a more economical slower-speed broadband network for Australia and having the private sector foot the bill, instead of the super fast internet established by the government could be likened to building dirt roads and later charging a toll to use them.
We need the politicians to agree together on this issue for the future of Australia’s place in the international community, well into the future, WHATEVER THE COSTS MAY BE. It’s time to forget political point scoring in opposing a good system just because it’s the job of the opposition to oppose. That’s 1950′s thinking.
In Australia we (they) are tossing up between a National Broadband Network to 95% of all homes with fiber optic cable underground OR wireless towers on all the buildings and cable strung between poles down the streets. “They” are kidding themselves. Iron ore and coal exports are going through the roof with sales to China and one half of the government (the opposition) is pretending to be poor!
‘They” do not understand what broadband is and could be yet ‘they’ are capable of making decisions preferring a slow speed cheaper system.
Legal shark fining example video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPFioJeMRO8
There’s a lot of out-of-date information circulating. Briefly:
1. Fishermen prefer to catch marlin, swordfish, tuna – high value products.
2. Sharks take the baits intended for tuna, marlin, on lines many kilometers long.
3. Sharks, unable to swim, then drown. Unable to swim, they drown, dead in 95% of cases.
4. So, what to do with the dead sharks? Throw them away? Process them for $2-3 kilo?
5. Many (or most) countries, by law, now make fishermen bring whole sharks home, fins attached.
6. Shark meat is processed into fake fish products, crab sticks, fish fingers etc.
7. Shark fins are just a bonus, (as compared with a large tuna) crazy to wast them.
8. A new bait is being trialed, a bait that tuna take yet is distasteful to sharks. It’s expensive.
9. Fishermen see many sharks offshore and sincerely believe there is no shortage.
10. There is a decline in all other fin fish, world-wide this is accelerating.
11. Shark diving companies would have you believe all of the above shark info is untrue.
12. Same applies to self-promoting marine ‘experts’. Easy to be interviewed speaking ‘doom and gloom’ info.
13. Bottom line at Taipei Shark Conference 2002 “We (scientists) should speak more often with fishermen to help with our research.
Any Taiwanese national who breaks provisions of the new law elsewhere in the world will still be subject to punishment in Taiwan
From: http://www.taipeitimes.com Wednesday, Dec 03, 2008
The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed the Statute Governing Investment and Management of Non-Taiwanese Fishing Boats, which prohibits anyone from investing in non-Taiwanese fishing boats without a permit from the agricultural authorities
Those who make such an investment without first obtaining a permit may be fined between NT$300,000 (US$8,950) and NT$1.5 million.
Under the new law, authorities will also be able to investigate any fishing irregularities by requiring fishing boat investors to present investment details.
Any Taiwanese national found to be involved in fish laundering ― an illegal act to cover up overfishing ― could be jailed from six months to three years and fined up to NT$30 million, while those entering the fishing business overseas without a permit may be sentenced to three years in prison and fined up to NT$10 million.
Those who commit these offenses abroad are subject to punishment in Taiwan, even if the acts are legal where they take place. Violators’ catch and equipment will also be confiscated.
The bill also includes a resolution urging the Council of Agriculture and the Fisheries Agency to engage in international negotiations for a “buffer zone” so the local fishing industry can gradually adjust the average size of its tuna catch.
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas sanctioned the nation’s deep-sea fishing industry in 2004 and 2005 for dodging the fishing limits by investing in non-Taiwanese fishing boats.
Bamboo cat sharks and a carpet shark. All three are often seen in restaurant aquarium tanks in Taiwan. I do not advise eating shark but these smaller species would be acceptable. The carpet sharks have white meat but all sharks excrete their urine into their blood as a method of maintaining an essential salt balance. If blood is not quickly released from a caught shark the urine taints the flesh. This should not be a problem in Taiwan were food handling is professional but a good tip for amateur fishermen.
The spotted fish is a coral trout, found in tropical waters throughout the world. You’ll see small one’s in restaurant fish tanks in Taiwan. They are a bright pink fish mostly. They are best cooked by steaming or within a soup – or maybe both ways if the fish is large enough.
They are an ‘A” grade species.
Beware of eating the larger dark blue coral cod. Very similar-looking. These are avoided in French Polynesia altogether, but not in Australia. In fact beware of eating slices from any large tropical fish.
Do a Google search for ciguatera, (it’s a tasteless fish toxin most doctors probably don’t know about), especially if you begin feeling strange after eating any seafood. The bad fish are big ones that may have eaten smaller fish. The predator species.
The fish was on ice ready for selection.
Coral Cod are similar to coral trout, nowhere near as common. A bit of a rare species in fact.
Definitely an A grade fish, so I chose it for dinner.
The chef cleaned and prepared it out of sight. Note the way the fish has been sliced, almost – but not quite in halves. Still attached at the top. A practical method yet to be learned by Australian chefs.
The lesson in all this is how much we, is Australia, waste fish.
In Australia we also tend to eat huge portions of a fish as if it were a steak of beef.
The Taipei method is more civilized. Small fish served with delicious sauces and combined with other dishes.
For example, a 300gm fillet of deep fried fish in batter with chips (frozen not fresh) would be a culinary crime here.
In Australia I can’t remember ever seeing a fresh coral cod for sale. Our fish are caught and frozen.
Maybe a few days or a week old by the time we get to eat them. Due of course to the long distances involved from coral reef to consumer.
Live reef fish are exported to Asia where the diners are much fussier.
Smaller versions of this fish are in Taiwan markets and restaurants.
Having a dive off Port Douglas on a shipwreck found by a prawn trawler when it’s net became snagged. The mysterious object was a very old steel ship sitting in 24 meters of water. Prawn nets had smashed the masts off. The wreck was not considered newsworthy
From left, John Harding. Peter West, Dale Chapman and boat owner, Ben Cropp.
Peter West is one of the very few people who viewed the last video footage of Steve Irwin (The Croc Hunter). Peter would have seen Steve ripping the stingray barb from his chest as recorded by the underwater camera. Otherwise the scene has been viewed by very few people and will never been commercialized.
Dale Chapman has an extensive underwater career, especially with cultured pearl diving and farming.
Ben Cropp is an underwater explorer and shipwreck hunter, amongst other talents. He has produced more than 100 documentaries for TV release. (I’ve appeared in several of the more recent – as an assistant and deckhand aboard Freedom III).
When grey nurse sharks became scare off Australia’s east coast, filming the sharks in aquariums became the next best thing. A USA TV special featuring pop stars required some shark shots, filmed by a diver inside the tank. It was a new approach at the time. My assistant Jocelyn met the star of the show. Can you tell who it is? The Rhinestone Cowboy himself.
We dived inside this fishing vessel. The masts were visible above water. Located in a treacherous area of the southern Coral Sea and Tasman Sea boundary. Further south is Lord Howe Island.
A strange name? Hundreds of years ago there were right and wrong whales to hunt. The ‘right’ type of whale floated when killed.
The Southern Right Whale was found south of the equator. There is a Northern Right Whale as well. Both species have are protected from hunting – although not many nations hunt whales anymore, maybe only Norway and Japan?
The Japanese are still active but they seek Minke whales. A smaller whale. The hunting is done under the disguise of science.
It’s a hot environmental issue in Australia -also how to change a Japanese tradition in disputed southern waters which Australia claims ownership or protection of. Solutions seem far away.
The more hot the issue the more revenue that can be raised for anti-whaling campaigns. The media get benefits too. More newspaper and magazine sales.
Politicians also use the issue to embarrass and mislead the public about those in power, knowing a stop whaling solution is never easily negotiated.
Should anyone try to tell Japanese what is right or wrong with their traditions?
Meanwhile the whale population migrating north for winter along the east Australian coast looks strong with fifty Southern Right and Humpback whales sighted and counted yesterday, south of Sydney.
In 1967 when we jumped into the sea of Sydney Heads to get the above picture, whales were so rare people knew little to nothing of them. This rare whale was traveling south back to the Southern Sea and Antarctica.
Underwater pictures were unknown apart from just a couple of examples taken from movie film.
Making any appreciation of the Southern Right Whale more difficult is their unusual mouth which curves in reverse. In other words, it’s upside down.
At the time I took what was thought to be extreme risk in photographing such a creature. All we knew about whales was they swallowed people whole! It would be years before I learned this species is the most docile of all.
Whales make good tourist attractions for above water viewing. Boats are prevented from motoring close to a whale. They stop engines and hope the whale will approach the boat – which often happens to the delight of passengers.
Hervey Bay just north from Brisbane is where many of the whales congregate. Heaps of boats service the whale watching tourist businesses there.