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Friday, 23 November 1979
Page: 3006


Senator Keeffe asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 13 November 1979:

(1)   Has the Australian Government concluded fishing agreements, within the 200 mile Australian limit, with: (a) Japan; (b) Taiwan; (c) South Korea; and (d) the Soviet Union, and are agreements with any other countries being negotiated.

(2)   What fees have been paid to Australia for fishing rights by: (a) Japan; (b) South Korea; (c) Taiwan; and (d) the Soviet Union.

(3)   How many ships will be used within the 200 mile limit by each country.

(4)   How much fish, by weight, will each country be allowed to harvest in Australian waters during the first 12 months of operation of each agreement with the countries concerned.


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

(1)   (a) A Head Agreement on fisheries co-operation between Australia and Japan and a Subsidiary Agreement concerning access by Japanese tuna longline fishing vessels to the 200 mile Australian fishing zone was signed on 17 October 1979 and took effect from I November 1979, the date of commencement of the zone.

(b)   Agreements providing for access by Taiwanese trawlers and gillnetters to the Australian fishing zone as from 1 November 1979 have been signed by the Minister for Primary Industry and representatives of the Kailis Kaohsiung Fishing Company Pty Ltd, as agent for the Kaohsiung Fishing Boat Commercial Guild, and by the Chairman of the Guild.

(c)   A Head Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Korea was initialled by officials ad referendum to Governments on 1 December 1979 and the arrangements governing access to specific fisheries are under consideration at Commonwealth, State and industry levels. Negotiations are expected to recommence early next year.

(d)   No fisheries agreement has been concluded with the USSR.

No fisheries agreements are being negotiated with other countries at this time.

A number of feasibility fishing projects which involve the use of foreign vessels have been approved. These projects do not involve Government to Government agreements. I have given details of these projects in my answer to Parliamentary Question 4851.

(2)   (a) Under the Sudsidiary Agreement on tuna longlining Japan has agreed to pay a fee of $A 1.4m for access by Japanese vessels during the first year of the Agreement.

(b)   As no bilateral agreements for access have been concluded with the Republic of Korea, no access fees have been paid for fishing rights.

(c)   The agreements governing access by Taiwanese vessels provide for a payment of SA984.600.

(d)   As no bilateral agreements for access have been concluded with the USSR no access fees have been paid for fishing rights.

(3)   (a) Under the Subsidiary Agreement negotiated with Japan up to 350 tuna longline vessels are permitted access to the 200 mile Australian fishing zone. A number of Japanese vessels are also engaged in feasibility fishing projects, referred to under part I (d) above.

(b)   No vessels of the Republic of Korea are licensed to operate in the Austalian fishing zone under a bilateral fisheries agreement. A number of Korean vessels are engaged in feasibility fishing projects, referred to under part 1 (d) above.

(c)   The agreements governing access by Taiwanese vessels to the Australian fishing zone provide for access for 150 vessels.

(d)   No vessels of the USSR are licensed to operate in the Australian fishing zone under a bilateral fisheries agreement; however a feasibility fishing project involving 3 Soviet vessels has been approved, see 1 (d ) above.

(4)   (a) No allocation by weight has been made under the agreement with Japan which concerns longlining operations directed mainly at tuna. Tuna are highly migratory species. The various stocks range over wide areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In the case of southern bluefin tuna, a species of particular interest to Australia, there is a world stock which ranges from the mid Atlantic to the mid Pacific The Australian fishing zone covers only part of the range of the tuna stocks which are fished within it. It would be difficult to predict the availability of fish in the Australian fishing zone as variations in the catch are primarly caused by changes in the ocean climate and variations in year class size which in turn are caused by variable survival of eggs and larvae and not the size of the spawning stock.

As might be expected, catch of tuna from the Australian fishing zone has varied considerably over the years. In the circumstances it was not considered practical to set quotas by weight at this time. Instead controls have been imposed on the number of vessels and the areas and periods m which they may fish.

(b)   No vessels of the Republic of Korea are licensed under a bilateral fisheries agreement to harvest fisheries resources from the Australian fishing zone.

(c)   The agreements coverning access by Taiwanese vessels to the Australian fishing zone provide for an allocation of 34,500 tonnes. The allocation represents a significant reduction on previous Taiwanese catches.

(d)   No vessels of the USSR are licensed under a bilateral fisheries agreement to harvest fisheries resources from the Australian fishing zone.







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