SIA rejects marine park claims

Seafood Industry Australia CEO Jane Lovell.

SEAFOOD Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak body representing Australia’s commercial fishers, has rejected claims made about the Coalition’s proposed network of Commonwealth Marine Parks in the media in recent days.

“There has been a number of claims regarding the Commonwealth Marine Park management plans in the media this week that are simply not true,” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.

“As the debate and vote on the five disallowance motions for the management plans looms in the Senate, SIA could not let this misrepresentation go uncorrected.

“Comments made that the plans are not supported by Australia’s fishers are not correct. In fact, ahead of the vote, Australia’s peak national fishing bodies have reaffirmed our united position in support of the plans. Seafood Industry Australia, Australian Fishing Trade Association, Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation and Game Fishing Association of Australia say the plans achieve an acceptable balance between sustainability and the right of Australians to catch fish, eat fish and make a living from the ocean.

“Comments made that large, foreign fishing fleets are currently operating in Australian waters are simply not true. Also, these management plans are not a plot see super trawlers back in Australian waters, nor is there a flotilla of foreign vessels lurking over the horizon. These management plans do not and will not have any impact on the number of fish being caught in Australian waters. The plans simply dictate the types of fishing activity that is allowed in each of the marine parks.

“Furthermore, claims that Australia’s fish-stock levels have dropped significantly have again reared their ugly head and they are simply not true. SIA, along with a number of organisations, raised serious doubts over the science used to back these claims when the research was released. In fact, SIA has submitted a request for information regarding the publication of this particular paper to the University of Tasmania.

“The basic premise of the paper is not supported by any evidence or credible scientific literature on Australia’s fisheries or fish-stock levels publicly available. In fact, the ABARES Fishery status reports 2017 showed that for the fourth consecutive year, no solely Commonwealth-managed fishery was subject to overfishing.

“SIA fully supports plans to clear plastics from our oceans, however it is worth noting that statements the Commonwealth Marine Park management plans would see, ‘oceans full of plastic and no fish,’ are nothing more than a red herring.

“Sadly these claims are yet another case of misinformation being peddled in an attempt to drum up fear and opposition to Australia’s network of marine parks.”

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