“On a mission of hope: Trailblazing US oceanographer Sylvia Earle offers a message of encouragement for our besieged Great Barrier Reef” and “What is sustainable seafood?”, Jan / Feb 2018.
Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) wishes to raise a number of concerns regarding these articles.
From the front cover “The Great Barrier Reef. Who’s going to save our greatest natural treasure?”, to the articles regarding Ms Earle and sustainable seafood, your magazine fails to reflect balance or the facts.
The Great Barrier Reef is being protected, the 344,400 km2 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established in 1975. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) oversees activities in the park, including fishing. Facts and figures on the GBRMP are readily available and would have provided balance.
None of this is mentioned in Goldrick’s article.
Goldrick fails to inform the reader that 36 per cent of Australian Commonwealth waters are designated marine parks, well ahead of the international benchmark (the ‘Aichi target’) of 10 per cent by 2020.
The article implies that commercial fishing per se is detrimental to the health of the ocean, which greatly underestimates and misrepresents the role of fisheries management. Australia’s fisheries management is recognised as amongst the best in the world.
Comments regarding “levels of protection” from commercial fishing, followed by this quote from Ms Earle for
…Australia to embrace this greatest treasure of the natural world. But so much has already been lost, and more is at risk of being lost right now unless people step up….to save what remains, and restore what can still be restored…
seek to blame commercial fishing and overlook the very real impacts of climate change, pollution and land-based activities.
Instead of actually identifying practical actions community members can implement, the story takes the familiar road of placing the blame elsewhere. This approach deludes readers and by inference, vilifies commercial fishers.
The magazine then misrepresents the status of Australia’s fish stocks via an advertisement for the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s (AMCS) Sustainable Seafood Guide. The AMCS is a self-appointed “authority” on seafood sustainability and lacks credibility as it neither collects nor maintains Australia’s agricultural and scientific data.
The Australian Government collects extensive information to ensure the sustainability of our fish stocks. Rather than referring to the AMCS, you would do better to consult factual information available from ABARES, AFMA, FRDC and GBRMPA.
A recent ABARES report in the status of Australian fish stocks identified that “for the fourth consecutive year there were no stocks classified as subject to overfishing in any fisheries managed solely by the Australian Government—a measure important in ensuring sustainable levels of harvest” (Fishery status reports released).
This information is clearly missing from this article.
Australia has world class fisheries management and to suggest that without certification our fisheries are at risk is incorrect. Some fishers look to obtain certification for international marketing purposes, but consumers can be confident that all Commonwealth-managed fisheries are sustainable.
Your failure to do the necessary fact checking has resulted in a grossly misleading and factually incorrect article, damaging to Australian seafood businesses, including MSC certified fisheries such as:
• Spencer Gulf Prawn trawl
• Northern Prawn
• Shark Bay Prawn trawl
• Exmouth Gulf Prawn trawl
• NZ Orange Roughy
For any future articles it would be beneficial to contact the relevant agencies and businesses or at least refer to information available on the web:
Regrettably, you have chosen to perpetuate negative and factually incorrect stories.
Australians should be proud that we are leaders in marine conservation and management, with one of the world’s largest networks of marine reserves. Safe in this knowledge, Australians can continue to enjoy our healthy, sustainable and delicious seafood.
Seafood Industry Australia