Colbeck defends Geelong Star

SENATOR Richard Colbeck has described Labor/Green opposition to commercial fishing in the Small Pelagic Fishery as a thinly veiled attack on the entire Australian commercial fishing industry.

“The latest science clearly shows the Small Pelagic Fishery can be fished sustainably, but Labor and the Greens appear hell-bent on destroying the fishing industry in Australia and will say absolutely anything in the process,” Colbeck, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, said.

“During the previous debate Labor and the Greens defined supertrawlers as vessels more than 130 metres in length.”

“The Coalition has accepted their definition of a supertrawler and we have enforced a permanent ban on vessels more than 130 metres from fishing in Australian waters. This regulation takes effect this week.”

Senator Colbeck said the Geelong Star is not a supertrawler and falls under every threshold put forward during the previous debate.

“The Geelong Star is less than 100 metres in length and has a storage capacity under 1100 tonnes – significantly less than the Greens definition of a supertrawler as a vessel with a storage capacity greater than 2,000 tonnes,” he said.

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“The goalposts keep being moved in this debate and it’s clear that some people just don’t want commercial fishing in Australia, which is frustrating as it is a legitimate and sustainable industry.”

“The Small Pelagic Fishery provides great value to the Australian community and is assessed as one of the most environmentally friendly protein sources on the planet.”

Senator Colbeck said the Coalition is doing as promised by continuing to seek updated science for the Small Pelagic Fishery.

“The latest science shows that the Small Pelagic Fishery can be fished sustainably – revealing continued opposition by Labor and the Greens is completely unjustified. It is clear they are not interested in the science and will say anything that fits their anti-fishing industry campaign,” he said.

“Australia’s fisheries are recognised among the best in the world and our fisheries management is based on the best available science. This was reaffirmed in the recent ABARES Fishery status reports which show no solely Commonwealth managed fisheries are subject to overfishing.”

“This Government is committed to a balanced and informed approach to fisheries management. We will continue to make any decisions regarding access to all Australian fisheries based on sound science.”

In related news, the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation has approached the Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association (SPFIA) to address public concerns over the Geelong Star’s impact. See story HERE.

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