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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1384


Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry to a recent request from the Western Australian Minister for Fisheries to the Minister for Primary Industry-namely, that all trawling on the continental shelf south of latitude 21 degrees be prohibited, except, of course, to boats holding trawling endorsements so as not to inhibit scallop trawling in the Abrolhos Islands area. In view of the damage which trawling does to the ocean floor and the threat which it represents to, amongst other things, crayfish grounds, can the Minister tell the Senate whether the Federal Government intends to act on the request and, if so, by what date can we expect the regulations to become operative so as to protect the cray grounds?


Senator WALSH —I have a note from Mr Kerin on this matter. The Government is acting on the request from the Western Australian Minister for Fisheries because the Commonwealth Government has jurisdiction beyond Western Australian coastal waters to the limit of the exclusive economic zone and an obligation under the Fisheries Act to manage and conserve fishery resources in waters where Commonwealth jurisdiction applies. The Australian Fisheries Service has already had discussions with the Western Australian Department of Fisheries to determine the action that the Commonwealth might take to regulate trawling in the in-shore waters south of latitude 21 degrees off the Western Australian coast with particular emphasis on protection of the valuable rock lobster fishery. Action to implement the appropriate regulatory measures is expected within two or three weeks.