Posted by Jim on July 24, 2010
The Australian Greens’ policy on fishing is consistently misrepresented by the Nationals and sections of the fishing sector. They appear to go out of their way to paint a picture in which the Greens will ban all forms of fishing.
The Greens’ policy on fishing is not focussed on banning fishing but maintaining sustainable recreational and commercial fisheries for our grandchildren.
Our policy on fishing in Australian waters contains these key goals:
- managing “recreational and commercial fisheries to maintain sustainable populations and fisheries, and to minimise the environmental impacts of fishing.”
- protection of fish nursery habitat.
- environmentally benign aquaculture industries.
- a strategy to maintain adequate, biologically representative ‘no-take’ areas within each fishery and/or marine bioregion for the conservation of marine biodiversity and fish stocks.
These are sustainability goals to avoid pushing some fish species to the point of extinction. This is a real threat for the Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna, for example, and tuna stocks in the Pacific face similar threats.
There are a range of measures proposed in the policy. Doing the science means independent ecological assessment of Australia’s commercial fisheries. A national approach to managing recreational and charter fishing is also needed. The Greens support increasing the number of Australia’s marine reserves, particularly where these improve the resilience of vulnerable fish populations. Fishing practices need to be sustainable. That involves a range of measures, which include implementing a moratorium on deep-sea bottom trawling in Australian waters, requiring by-catch reduction in all trawl fisheries, and banning all factory-ship based fishing in Australian pelagic fisheries. Maintaining adequate, biologically representative ‘no-take’ areas within each fishery and/or marine bioregion are targetted measures rather than blanket bans.
In cooperation with the states and territories, the Greens propose developing a nationally agreed framework for the assessment and regulation of aquaculture developments based on ecosystems management principles.
The Greens’ policy on marine and coastal waters also emphasises the sustainability of the fishing industries in Australia. Their health is dependent upon adequate conservation and sustainable management measures that ensure the replenishment of fishing stocks. Fisheries must be managed as a part of a broader ecosystem which meets the needs of natural predators as well as humans.
The Greens want science to be the foundation of statutory ecosystems-based regional marine planning that enables the full range of uses and impacts to be identified and managed, and allocates resources across and within marine industry sectors. This requires a national approach to coordinate and enforce the sustainability of ocean uses and consistent regulation.
These measures, designed to ensure that fishing practices do not wipe out species or damage ocean ecosystems, will be enhanced by targets of a minimum of 30 percent no-go areas in the marine reserve areas governed by the principles set out in these policies. Establishing these zones is not a random process but a strategy to maintain adequate, biologically representative ‘no-take’ areas for the conservation of marine biodiversity and fish stocks.
The fishing policy of the Australian Greens is designed to ensure the survival of fish resources, protection of their environment and ecosystems and to prevent the demise of recreational and commercial fisheries.
It is dishonest of critics of the Greens policies on fishing to continue taking elements out of context to create alarm among the fishing community. The goals and measures proposed are designed to preserve the industry rather than destroy it and are part of a comprehensive sustainable approach.
Jim McDonald, 23 July 2010