Seafood Industry Australia’s response to Graham J. Edgar, Trevor J. Ward and Rick D. Stuart‐Smith’s research article, “Rapid declines across Australian fishery stocks indicate global sustainability targets will not be achieved without an expanded network of ‘no‐fishing’ reserves”
“The basic premise of the paper is not supported by any evidence or credible scientific literature publicly available,” Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) CEO Jane Lovell said.
“The paper accurately points out that some commercial catch sizes have decreased, however this is not related to a decline in fish stocks. Rather, this highlights a reduction in catch-limits, which are set inline with scientific data to ensure our fisheries are sustainable well into the future.
“The paper incorrectly infers that the size of a fishery’s commercial catch is indicative of fish numbers. There many reasons why catch sizes rise and fall over time, including seasonal fluctuations, market demand and fisheries management. Fisheries management takes into account any historical overfishing that maybe have occured and works to reestablish fish stocks.
“The baseline year of 2005 used in the paper is the year before Australia adopted its current, more responsive fisheries management approach and true isn’t a reflection of our current practices.
“The new measures brought in included a major government buyback of the number of commercial fishing licences available, the lowering of catch sizes and the introduction of harvest strategies.
“Harvest strategies set the acceptable limits for commercial fisheries and are the most conservative in the world.
“These strategies have led to more sustainable fisheries management, so it is not surprising catch sizes are smaller today than in 2005.
“SIA completely agrees with the need for and supports Australia’s marine parks. The Coalition has created a world-class network of marine parks, the second largest network in the world, which cover 36 per cent of our oceans. Well above international “Aichi target” of 10 per cent by 2020.
“There are a number of flaws in the paper’s research and methodology which SIA find concerning. AFMA, the Department of Agriculture, FRDC, ABARES and CSIRO have addressed these in their reply, which SIA supports.
“It is worth noting that according to the ABARES Fishery status report 2017, no soley Commonwealth-managed fishery is subject to overfishing.
“As fishers our priority is the ocean. We advocate the health, sustainability and future of our ocean. Our aim is to keep providing fantastic seafood to Australian families.”
For more information, comment or to organise an interview please contact Jessica McInerney, Media and Communications Manager, Seafood Industry Australia
M: 0420 695 431