Media Release - 20 October
The AFMA organised stakeholder consultation on the Small Pelagic Fishery last Friday was clearly designed as a media platform for the Australian Government to say that they had undertaken consultation with stakeholders. Conservation and recreational fishing groups remain concerned that these box-ticking exercises could be a signal that super trawlers are being considered for introduction into our waters. The groups remain united in the campaign to stop super trawlers being introduced into Australian waters and concerned with the low level of data available on the fishery’s movements and how to avoid localised depletion.
“Contrary to Senator Colbeck’s claims that conservation groups are not engaging and are avoiding the science, we requested from AFMA what new information was being presented and discovered that they did not have new stock assessments for analysis, nor did they have a proposed solution to avoiding localised depletion caused by super trawlers,” said Rebecca Hubbard of the Stop the Trawler Alliance.
“Instead of waiting until the Independent Panel’s report on the impacts of super trawlers in the fishery is available so that we could have an informed discussion, the Australian Government wanted to rush ahead with a forum for the media, rather than wait and have genuine, meaningful consultation.
“This forum looks like it was set up with the deliberate aim of ticking another box that could open the door to bringing a new super trawler in,” concluded Ms Hubbard.
“I did attend the forum as a recreational fisher and I was disappointed to see no attendance by Senator Colbeck, but after seeing the data that was presented it soon became obvious that our true concerns regarding this fishery have not been addressed. There is still no knowledge of the migration patterns which are fundamental to ensuring effective management of the fishery,” said Nobby Clark, GameFish Tasmania Sports Fishing Clubspokesperson.
“The value of this fishery to recreational fishers, the environment and other commercial fishers could far outweigh the value of a small commercial fishery, however this is also not being considered,” concluded Mr Clark.
“Prime Minister Abbott said that the super trawler Margiris will stay banned however we are not seeing any evidence from his Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Senator Colbeck that this is the case. The Australian Government should stop wasting time and money on forums that don’t address the issues, and instead honour its promise to the Australian people and legislate a permanent ban on super trawlers to protect our fisheries, marine life and fishing future”, concluded Ms Hubbard.
Senator Colbeck’s Media Release: http://www.richardcolbeck.com.au/2014_media_releases/green_groups_no_show_at_fisheries_roundtable