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Thursday, 25 February 2010
Page: 1978


Mr BRIGGS (11:49 AM) —I appreciate the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry sitting here for just a brief time while I follow a very comprehensive contribution from the member for Gippsland, who clearly knows very much about the fishing industry in his patch. He does come from a very beautiful part of our country with some excellent fishing, but of course it is not quite as good as along the south coast of Adelaide and out around Kangaroo Island. Fishing is a vital industry to my electors, particularly those along the south coast and around Kangaroo Island, both for commercial fishing and probably more importantly for recreational fishing.

Kangaroo Island is a great tourism asset for South Australia. Sixty per cent of international visitors who visit South Australia do so to visit Kangaroo Island, and the fishing industry is a vital and important part of its economy and the economy of Mayo. I take a personal interest and make sure I occasionally get out there to make sure the fisherman are going well on KI. I can say that just before Christmas they were doing very well when we ensured that the whiting stocks were still there.

On a more serious note, one of the great reforms that we have made in this country is to ensure that we have a sustainable fishing industry with correct bag limits and so forth. I think that is something we need to ensure we continue to keep an eye on. It is a vital component of our economy with the tourism aspect and both commercial and recreational fishing. However, increasingly we are facing a worldwide challenge with fish. There were some interesting articles over the summer period that I am sure the minister saw about world fish stocks and the challenge we will have in the next 20 years as the population throughout the world grows so quickly, particularly in countries that are reliant on seafood as one of their mainstay foods.

I note that the minister is addressing these issues about protection of our fish stocks in this bill. Increasingly we will see concerning reports about other countries accessing fish stocks that have traditionally not been fished and putting increased pressure on the world food supply, which I think is a major challenge for our nation and for the world in the next 20 years. This is going to be an increasingly important issue for our country. I am sure the minister is very aware of that. I note that this bill does address some of those issues in relation to protections and I think they are very important issues for us to be looking at.

Fishing is a vital industry to my part of the world around Kangaroo Island off the south coast of South Australia. It is less vital these days in the Lower Lakes because of the environmental situation; however, it is also important for many recreational fisherman. It is a large passion for many people and we do need the right governance. We have an ongoing issue with marine parks in South Australia and I know the minister will be working very closely with the state government on those issues. They can be contentious issues and getting the balance right between sustainability and allowing the recreational industry to continue is important. I appreciate the indulgence of the minister for allowing those short remarks.