IN JEOPARDY? Feeding the dolphins at Tin Can Bay is an important part of the fishing village’s economy and draws visitors to the region.
IN JEOPARDY? Feeding the dolphins at Tin Can Bay is an important part of the fishing village’s economy and draws visitors to the region. Warren Lynam

LETTER: Wide Bay ‘misled’ says fishing advocate

ALP's federal candidate for Wide Bay, Lucy Stanton, has misled Wide Bay voters about her visit to Tin Can Bay and the Barnacles dolphin feeding program on her Facebook page.

Ms Stanton did not ask for permission from Barnacles proprietor Les Dunstan to take a photo from that site for her Facebook page or for political purposes.

Ms Stanton, you were advised by me that this program only exists because of successive Queensland state governments and its environmental conditions, which require the use of commercial fishing by-catch, introduced by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, backed by our submission to then Bligh government's Marine Mammal Review several years back.

The submission went over the long term history of dolphin feeding by humans evolving from indigenous to early settlement and then with the 140 years of commercial net fishing within the Great Sandy Strait.

Yet you imply on your Facebook page that you spoke with Les about World Heritage listing of the Great Sandy Strait, habitat protection and net free zones which would be in the best interest of the dolphins. Les assures me that never happened. 

You were also advised about the problems with any World Heritage listing, which could empower UNESCO and the International Whaling Commission to place this feeding program in jeopardy, given it would be illegal in a World Heritage Area under international convention and federal law.

You were told that the two feeding sites, Tangalooma and Tin Can Bay, owed their existence to the sovereignty of Queensland law and we currently hope the Tin Can Bay dolphin feeding program retains the blessing of ongoing Queensland governments regardless of their politics. 


You were told our explanatory document went extensively into the probable habituation of this region's dolphins by Aboriginal and post-Aboriginal fishing operators, an environmental and cultural heritage which could be superior to the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef.


Ms Stanton, you would not accept that commercial net fishermen had any association with this Tin Can Bay feeding program in any form, not even when the proprietor's son came in and told you he was a commercial net fisherman and that their family was involved with Luxury Afloat House Boats and the dolphin feeding program and café, here at Tin Can Bay and that commercial net fishermen played a vital role with this dolphin feeding program and history.

Ms Stanton, you could not accept that this region's net fishing could be a first in the world where dolphin friendly net caught fish from the Great Sandy Strait is available to locals, international travellers, grey nomads towing caravans, holiday makers, back packers and other visitors to Queensland and includes fish being fed back to these dolphins by such people.   

Ms Stanton, you came to the Tin Can Bay dolphin feeding site with an agenda. You left disgruntled, simply because you could not get your way with your agenda to get rid of the evil netters.

You left in such a huff and did not even bother to ask for any supporting documentation, unlike Llew O'Brien who came to the site with an open mind and without an agenda. He listened, asked appropriate questions and left with the arrangement to have the documents emailed to him. The site's submission document had circulated for several years to respected conservation identities and groups. The Gympie Times has a copy and has covered this in the past.

If you have not already done so please remove the political mischief and photo from your Facebook site placed there on April 24. It is extremely misleading. 

Joe McLeod,

Tin Can Bay,

For the Barnacles Dolphin Feeding Program at Tin Can Bay. 

Gympie Times

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