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Friday, 23 November 1979
Page: 3002


Senator Jessop asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry upon notice, on 7 November 1979:

(   1 ) What is the present total allowable catch of fish within the Australian fishing zone, by species, for (a) Australia; (b) Japan; and (c) other countries, under the agreement on fisheries between the Government of Australia and the Government of Japan; Article III I (A) and 1 (B).

(2)   What is the present total allowable catch within the Australian fishing zone 'taking into account the best available scientific evidence', of 'all species of tuna and bill-fish together with all other species of finfish including oceanic sharks', under the subsidiary agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Japan concerning Japanese tuna long-line fishing, Article II.

(3)   What proportion of the total allowable catch referred to in part (2) above is expected to be taken by licensed Japanese vessels, and what is its expected value.

(4)   What proportion of the total allowable catch is allocated to the Australian fishing industry.

(5)   What proportion of the value of the catch allocated to Japan does the licence fee of $1,400,000 under Article I of the subsidiary agreement represent.

(6)   Is the licence fee expected to be revised at the end of the agreement's first year.

(7)   Which marine science institutes were consulted in drawing up the agreement on fisheries between the Government of Australia and the Government of Japan; and which elements of the Australian fishing industry were consulted before the agreement was signed.


Senator Webster - The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   and (2) No total allowable catch has been set for either Australia or Japan or any other country under the Agreement on fisheries between the Government of Australia and the Government of Japan.

(3)   The Japanese longline catch is controlled by limitations on the number of vessels and on the periods and areas in which fishing may take place. The Japanese catch varies markedly from year to year. Latest figures show that the average catch from the Australian fishing zone for the period 1973 to 1976 was about 12,000 tonnes per annum of which 3,460 was southern bluefin tuna. The value of the catch will be dependent on the composition and quality of the catch and market conditions. It is estimated to be in the range $2S-3Sm per annum.

(4)   The average yearly Australian catch for southern bluefin tuna over the period 197S to 1978 was about 10,300 tonnes. In addition relatively small quantities of other tunas were taken.

(5)   The fee is a negotiated figure based on an assessment of likely catches and market prices and compares favourably with fees collected by other countries with which Japan has negotiated similar agreements.

(6)   The licence fee will be reviewed before the end of the agreement's first year.

(7)   Commonwealth and State Government fisheries research organisations were consulted. The Australian Fishing Industry Council and representatives of the tuna fishing industry were consulted before the agreement was signed. Discussions were also held with representatives of game fishing organisations.







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