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Thursday, 28 February 1985
Page: 326

Senator ARCHER —I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. The Minister for Primary Industry is well aware that the Tasmanian rock lobster industry has been one of the best regulated and managed fisheries in Australian waters over many years. He would also be aware that all those years of conservation and management are in real danger at present. Accordingly, I ask: Is it the intention of the Government in relation to this fishery to confirm the present traditional State oversight of the waters adjacent to the State waters, or is the Government contemplating another arrangement? If it intends to make changes to the traditional management of the waters, what is the intention, and when will the announcement be made?

Senator WALSH —I am advised by the Minister for Primary Industry, Mr Kerin, that in October 1984 the Victorian Professional Fishermen's Association wrote to the Interim Fishing Industry Consultative Panel requesting that consideration be given to establishing a task force to investigate allowing Victorian fishermen to operate in Commonwealth waters outside the present agreed limits. This proposal was not discussed at the last IFICP meeting on 13 November. However, this proposal was reported in the media, particularly in Tasmania.

No changes to the present management arrangements are under consideration by the Commonwealth fisheries authorities. Should any changes be contemplated these would be considered only after request had been received by the Victorian or Tasmanian governments. To date no such request has been received from either government. In addition, no changes would be contemplated until a careful assessment had been undertaken of all the factors involved in accordance with the provisions of the Fisheries Act 1952 and after close consultation with the governments of Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia.