Posted by Jim on June 23, 2010
There is some concern in the Wide Bay electorate about the Garrett review on fisheries in the Fraser Coast and Cooloola Coast regions. At a forum at Tin Can Bay in April called to discuss the effects on the seafood industry, the CEO of Marine Queensland, Don Jones, spoke about sustainable industry practices.
Afterwards I wrote to tell him it was clear “that your industry organisation and The Greens have far more in common than we have differences,” and sent him a copy of The Greens’ fishing policy. Greens policy on the industry and recreational fishing is to protect fish nursery habitat and encourage environmentally benign aquaculture industries.
There are, I told him, some useful distinctions he made that should be taken into account in the question of setting up green areas [ie no-go zones] – that we need to take a three dimensional approach to the question of access on the one hand and sustainability on the other.
What Don Jones said at the forum was quite consistent with The Greens’ policy on fishing. The first principal of our policy is the management of recreational and commercial fisheries to maintain sustainable populations and fisheries, and to minimise the environmental impacts of fishing. There was nothing in his remarks at the forum that was at odds with The Greens’ strategy to maintain adequate, biologically representative “no-take” areas within each fishery and/or marine bio-region for the conservation of marine biodiversity and fish stocks.
Nonetheless, The Greens position is outrageously portrayed by ratbags at the edges of the industry as anti-fishing. The Greens policy is hardly about closing down fisheries. The industry and The Greens share a concern about significant drops in some fish stocks.
The Greens go further than the industry in linking an increase in the number of Australia’s marine reserves, particularly where these improve the resilience of vulnerable fish populations. That’s the practical way to ensure sustainability.
But the science needs to be done and the Federal and State Governments need to patrol their respective designated areas to protect sensitive fishery resources against illegal commercial and recreational fishing. At the same time, the Federal Government review of the need for marine parks needs to look at which areas in a reserve might be no-go areas and what regulations ought to be put in place for different systems in the environment within a marine park. Within a particular zone it might require different approaches to pelagic fish on the surface and deep water marine species, migratory fish and fishing on reefs. The Greens do call for a moratorium on deep-sea bottom trawling in Australian waters and require a reduction of inefficient and wasteful by-catch in all trawl fisheries.
Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, has said about the review that neither the borders nor the announcement of the review of the Fraser Coast and Cooloola waters indicate which specific areas will be protected or where areas of mixed use will be allowed.
What is encouraging is that the responsible sectors of the industry, the Minister and The Greens all address the sustainability of the fishing industry. That consensus is a better start than the irresponsible scaremongering of sections of the industry, which the the member for Wide Bay seems to be pandering to in his latest electoral report.
Comment: Jim McDonald, Greens Candidate for Wide Bay, 23 June 2010by