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COMMENT: Truth lost on marine park thrust

The WAFIC says Forrest’s comments about foreign fishing vessels in Australian water are untrue.

“WAFIC fully supports Mr Forrest’s plan to focus on plastic cleanup of our oceans. Getting to the source of pollutants and stopping them entering the ocean would be a magnificent achievement,” John Harrison, Chief Executive of the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), said in a press release today.

But yesterday evening Mr Forrest made comments on ABC radio’s RN Drive hosted by presenter Patricia Karvelas’ which Mr Harrison described as inaccurate and factually wrong.

“Comments such as foreign fishing boats are currently fishing in Australia waters – are just not true.”

“And as far as WAFIC understands, there are no plans to do so nor open our seas to so called big industrial factory ships.”

“We strongly recommend Mr Forrest checks the source of his information if it is drawing him to these erroneous conclusions.”

“Unfortunately, we have someone who is extremely influential across the political divide – making incorrect comments about Australia’s fisheries and feeding wrong information to our seafood consumers and the public at large.”

The Federal Government’s review of the zonings of the Commonwealth’s marine parks will provide opportunity to continue commercial fishing in certain parts of the parks. These changes from the management plan proposed by the previous Labor government are supported by WAFIC and are seen as a balanced outcome.

“Living in Australia – we are home to world-class fisheries, which provide consumers with some of the best managed and sustainable seafood in the world.”

“As Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) CEO Jane Lovell said in the article dated March 21, 2018 – Australia would have 36 per cent of its waters listed as marine parks. This is well-above the international ‘Aichi’ target of 10 per cent by 2020.”

The Federal government have proposed these changes to the Marine Parks for a reason.

“The current plans mean the future of Australia’s $3.2 billion commercial industry is secured for seafood consumers and the livelihood of thousands of Western Australian direct and indirect employees in the seafood industry and without environmental impacts,” he said.

Mr Harrison said that for WA fisheries alone, the state has a global reputation for the high quality of its fisheries management.

“Over 90% of the total gross value of production (GVP) of our fisheries from Western Australia have achieved the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) third-party independent certification – the world’s leading gold standard program.”

“MSC certification, gives broader community certainty that the fishery is managed to world’s best practice in terms of the environment and the long-term sustainability and viability of stocks,” he said.

Concluding, Mr Harrison said that Western Australia, along with other states, is a world leader in sustainable fishery management and all Western Australian’s should be proud of the management of our commercial fisheries.

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