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ENVIRONMENT—NORTH WEST SLOPE TRAWL FISHERY

Senator Siewert, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 398—That the Senate—

 (a) notes that:

  (i) trawling in the northeast area of the North West Slope Trawl Fishery off the Western Australian Kimberley coast was made possible due to an administrative error when the Western Australian and Federal Governments amended the Offshore Constitutional Settlement in 1998,

  (ii) this error allows bottom trawling in areas shallower than 200 metres despite the fact that this is a critical habitat for goldband snapper and other species and has been off-limits to trawlers since 1980,

  (iii) the ecological sensitivity of this area has been acknowledged in the Australian Fisheries Management Authority's correspondence with permit holders,

  (iv) legislative instruments have been introduced prohibiting all fishing in the northeast area, but the most recent instrument expired in December 2010,

  (v) since that time, the closure has been maintained informally by industry self-regulation,

  (vi) negotiations between the Western Australian and Federal Governments to fix this error have stalled and the trawling industry has threatened to resume trawling in September 2011, and

  (vii) a resumption of trawling in this area would adversely impact the benthos and fish stocks of this region; and

 (b) calls on the Federal Government to permanently close this area to trawling by amending the Fisheries Management Act 1991 to ban fishing in the northeast area of the North West Slope Trawl Fishery in Western Australia.

Statement by leave: Senator Colbeck, by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.

Question put and negatived.