Last week Seafood Industry Australia challenged three national publications regarding misrepresenting the issues of marine reserves and foreign vessels. The below is a copy of our letter to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. Despite assurances, the letter has not yet been published.
Letter to the Editor
Nicole Hasham’s article “Foreign boats set to fish in Australian waters, expert claims”, 10 December 2017.
Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) objects to the misrepresentation of facts in Hasham’s article. The journalist conflates two unrelated issues – marine reserves and foreign vessels working in Australian waters. As the peak body for the Australian seafood industry we will not allow such misrepresentation to go unchallenged.
Hasham’s article infers marine protections have been stripped away. They have not. There are no plans to reduce the 3.3 million square kilometres of marine reserves proposed for Australia’s waters. These reserves will cover 36% of our waters, greatly exceeding the internationally agreed target of 10%.
To the issue of foreign boats, Australia has strict requirements for international fishing vessels. As Hasham’s article points out, international vessels can become Australian and must abide by the same rules as any other Australian boat. On rare occasions, a foreign vessel may seek to access our fisheries while remaining internationally flagged. The Australian Government carefully considers whether the operation will provide net benefits to the Australian community before accepting or rejecting any application. If accepted these vessels must also abide by Australian rules.
There is no international conspiracy here, no flotilla of vessels lurking over the horizon, no backroom deals to decimate our fish stocks.
Rather than perpetuating negative stories, it would be refreshing to spread some good news.
Australians should be proud that we are leaders in marine conservation and management and will soon have one of the world’s largest marine reserve networks. Safe in this knowledge, Australians can continue to enjoy our healthy, sustainable and delicious seafood.
Seafood Industry Australia