Last week Seafood Industry Australia challenged three national publications regarding misrepresenting the issues of marine reserves and foreign vessels in the article “Foreign boats set to fish in Australian waters, expert claims”, 10 December 2017, by Nicole Hasham. The below is a letter to the Editor of the publications by Dr James Findlay, CEO of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).
ENVIRONMENTALISTS’ MISLEADING CLAIMS OF FOREIGN VESSELS ENTERING AUSTRALIAN WATERS
18 December 2017
This week Australians were deceived by some environmentalists who conjured a conspiracy theory that foreign fishing vessels were about to arrive en masse to Australia’s distant offshore waters.
As the CEO of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) I outright reject these ridiculous claims and call them for what they are, unsubstantiated scaremongering.
In the article, Foreign boats set to fish in Australian waters, expert claims, by Nicole Hasham (10 December 2017), without a skerrick of evidence, Dr Quentin Hanich, of the University of Wollongong, claims that proposed changes to protected marine areas are designed to allow foreign vessels to operate outside Australian laws.
AFMA outright rejects these claims.
Any vessel operating in distant Australian waters must follow Commonwealth fishery rules and regulations.
Foreign vessels allowed to fish in Australia are subject to the same or tougher rules as Australian-owned vessels.
This includes not being able to fish in declared, non-take marine protected areas or green zones.
Australia has a commercial fishing industry that it should be extremely proud of, with a global reputation as a world-leader in fisheries management.
For the fourth year running, no solely Commonwealth managed fishery is over fished. This is a result of hard work, and through management of our fisheries based on the best available science.
This means that Australians can be confident that when they buy their Australian wild-caught seafood this Christmas that it’s from the world’s best managed fisheries.
Dr James Findlay
CEO, Australian Fisheries Management Authority