ASSISTANT Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, has released a statement responding to claims she pressured Victoria to reduce rec bag limits on southern bluefin tuna while increasing the commercial quota.
Senator Ruston’s statement below:
The harmonised management of Australia’s international quota for Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) is being considered by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Agriculture Ministers, to ensure responsible and sustainable fishing across the commercial and recreational fishing sectors.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, said no decision has been made about the future management of SBT but a range of options are being considered.
“Recently, social media commentary by recreational fishers about the current careful deliberative process under-way, has been premature,” Senator Ruston said.
“SBT is very important to our regional communities in southern Australia – it’s one of Australia’s premium export products and a phenomenal recreational fish to catch.
“The management of SBT is not about banning recreational fishing or playing off recreational and commercial interests.
“It is about fishing responsibility and sustainably, both now and in the future.
“It’s clear that recreational fishers are keen to partner on the management of this global species, from the support they gave to the recent announcement of the Tuna Champions program, which I proudly launched last month in Hobart.
“In December we will commence a national survey of the recreational catch, which will inform future management arrangements for this iconic fish.
“There are currently a range of different recreational limits across Australia, with NSW reducing their bag limit from seven to one in 2014.
“The Commonwealth does not want to assume the day to day management of the recreational catch of SBT – we believe the States are best placed to continue that role.
“However, Australia takes seriously its international obligations to manage this iconic, conservation dependent species whilst it is in our waters.
“It’s the right of every Australian to catch a feed of fish but we all need to do this in a sustainable and responsible manner.
“We’re looking to guarantee this recreational fishing experience for the children and grandchildren of today’s anglers.”