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Monday, 11 November 2002
Page: 6046

Senator O'Brien asked the Minister for Forestry and Conservation, upon notice, on 4 October 2002:

With reference to the Minister's answer to question on notice no. 488 (Senate Hansard, 17 September 2002, p. 4318):

(1) What information sources contributed to the assessment of the illegal Patagonian toothfish catch identified in the answer to question 488(1).

(2) Can the Minister explain the variation by year in illegal catch figures identified in the answer to question 488(2)(b).

Senator Ian Macdonald (Minister for Forestry and Conservation) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) The assessment was compiled using seized catch figures and `real logbooks' from seized vessels, as well as an estimate of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) catch made on the basis of all information available to Australian officials.

(2) Question 488(2)(b) does not refer to illegal catch figures, however presuming that the honourable senator was referring to the answer to question 488(2)(a): an assessment of the figures would indicate that the reduction in illegal catch from 1996/1997 to 1998/1999 is likely to be as a result of the introduction and presence of patrols in the area, which resulted in apprehensions; and the increase in illegal catch from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 is likely to be as a result of increased levels of illegal fishing in Australia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in part due to declining stocks in other target areas, such as the French EEZ around Iles Crozet and Iles Kerguelen..