COMMENT: Kelly is saying all the right things

GIVE yourself a clap on the back, fellas. The emails sent by all you Fisho readers to Mike Kelly’s office in Canberra definitely helped influence today’s decision on billfish and tuna quotas. It’s important not to get too carried away – we haven’t stopped the commercial exploitation of our iconic gamefish species, just minimised for the moment the numbers of tuna and marlin that will end up as sushi. The numbers of fish, especially striped marlin, that the long liners can legally take is still way too high. Regardless, this is a significant win. Up until very recently, recreational concerns about fish stocks and sustainability just didn’t rate with the federal fisheries bureaucracy.

The fact that our concerns on this issue have been listened to, and at least partially acted on, is due in no small part to the appointment of Mike Kelly as federal parliamentary secretary for fisheries. Unlike most politicians involved in fisheries policy, Kelly actually seems to know what he’s talking about. Even more interesting is the fact that he professes a keen interest in fisheries matters. He actually asked for the job, believe it or not. And he seems dedicated to making the “right decisions”, decisions he says can only be made when based on science and careful consultation. His moves to get AFMA to reconsider the catch levels it initially proposed for the ETBF quotas show that he’s not frightened of making tough decisions, nor is he concerned about taking on the bureaucracy. And as you’ll see from his comments in the news story HERE he’s seemingly not at all interested in kowtowing to green extremists either …

Kelly seems to be the sort of politician we fishos should get to know better. My brief interview with him this week left me with the impression that he’d be tough but fair in his decision-making. Can we honestly expect anything better than that?

While Kelly so far seems to be a refreshing and welcome choice as our federal fisheries chief, the past few weeks have also been positive as far as showing what we can do if we put our minds to it. While we regrettably have a few rats in our ranks, we as anglers by and large pulled together to put a stop to the unsustainable AFMA quotas. A lot of behind-the-scenes work went on as this campaign unfolded, with various individuals, notably John Dunphy, Len Olyott, Doug Joyner and Martin Salter, amongst others, putting in many hours of largely thankless effort. NSW Fisheries and RecFish Australia also played pivotal roles in highlighting sustainability concerns over the AFMA proposals.

This little battle with AFMA has not only resulted a slight reprieve for our tuna and marlin stocks, it has also helped us establish ourselves as the true guardians of the marine environment. Make no mistake, we drove this issue. No one else was in there fighting. If we hadn’t made such a fuss, it’s likely AFMA would have got its evil way. Senator Brown and his Green cohorts were nowhere to be seen as AFMA planned the slaughter of 400 tonnes of striped marlin, plus thousands of tonnes of tuna and swordfish. Imogen Zethoven from Pew? Not a squeak. Only Greenpeace, probably the most reasonable and level-headed of all the green groups, made the effort to decry the AFMA proposals.

The fact that concerned anglers took on a powerful bureaucratic machine and won should give us a lot of hope for the battles we’ll face in the future. Hopefully it will also help us develop the unity and cohesion we so urgently need.

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.