No fisheries driver for marine parks

14 June, 2012. For immediate release.

Following Minister Burke’s announcement on the national network of marine parks including the new Jervis Bay marine park in southern NSW, SETFIA’s CEO Simon Boag commented:
“There is already a network of 13 marine parks in south eastern Australia which combined with other fisheries closures have seen 85% of the fishery closed to trawling. The trawl fleet in the south east has reduced by more than half since 2006. There is simply no fisheries management need for marine parks in Australia.”

It is not hard to find evidence of the sustainability of Australia’s fisheries:

A February 2009 Nature Journal article ranked Australian fisheries management 4th out of 53 international fisheries.

Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig commented in a press release recently that “When it comes to picking fish that’s come from a well-managed and sustainable fishery – choosing Australian is the best option,” And, “By buying Australian, consumers are supporting sustainable fishing practices which means helping the environment and the Australian fishing industry”.

Fisheries scientists and Professors, Dr Bob Kearney (AM) from the University of Canberra and Dr Ray Hilborn from the University of Washington, released a paper in February this year that stated, “There have been some very serious problems with overfishing around the world, and some of them are continuing. But the global picture provides three fundamental messages; the problems are not universal, they are not uniformly distributed and the overly pessimistic view is simply not relevant to Australia. In fact Australians have excellent reasons to have faith in their fisheries management and to consume Australian seafood with confidence and enthusiasm.”

Given the demonstrated sustainability of Australia’s fisheries Mr Boag concluded, “We are saddened to see the extent of the national network of marine parks. This network has not been developed on a scientific basis and is not required for fisheries management. With respect to the South East Trawl Fishery we believe that the Jervis Bay marine park will have minimal effect on the industry provided trawling remains permitted as announced. Our members did not want to be displaced; all they ever wanted was to continue in a highly sustainable food industry. The Association remains committed to science based fisheries management”.