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Friday, 21 November 1941

The possibilities of establishing a valuable tuna fishing industry in Australia were discussed yesterday by Mr. D. W. Bingham, on his arrival by Tasman flying-boat.

Mr. Bingham,who has been studying the fishing industry in the United States of America for the past three months, said that his trip was sponsored by the Fisheries Division of the Commonwealth Research Department. He would report to .the department in a private capacity.

The tuna fishing industry could be established for about £100,000, said Mr. Bingham. One boat, which would cost £30,000, would mean an industry of £315,000 a season. Mr. Bingham suggested that an 80 to 90 feet boat with a 300 horse-power engine would bo the most suitable. " We will never get anywhere by the present system," Mr. Bingham said. "Australians are not natural fishermen, and they must be shown." He added that tlie Slav fisherman, who earned about £1,000 a year in 'America, would be willing to come to Australia. " Canneries already established in Australia would be able to handle the canning of the tuna," said Mr. Bingham. " There would be a market for the fish in America.

Mr. Binghamis the managing director of D. W. Bingham Proprietary Limited, of Melbourne and Sydney, a firm which specializes in cannery installation.

Those who have interested themselves is the development of the tuna (fishing industry know of the great possibilities. In addition to a ready market locally for this fish, the prospects of an export trade to the United States of America are bright. My purpose in speaking to-day is to direct attention to the report of Mr. Bingham's opinions, and particularly to his statement that canneries already exist for dealing with tuna. "Whereas he considered that one boat, 80 feet or 90 feet long, would be adequate for the work, I stated in evidence before the Tariff Board that four or five boats would be necessary for the purpose. The boats must be suitably equipped with tackle for catching and handling the fish. In addition, experienced fishermen are required.

The .fishing industry is most important to Tasmania. Its waters are the coldest in. Australia and have the best supply of fish. 'Considerable development is already taking place. One business firm is actively engaged in operating a factory on Flinders Island, but the Commonwealth Government should provide assistance in order to accelerate ite efforts. There is a big demand for fish, not only locally, hut .also for our fighting forces abroad. Although the matter of manpower may be urged as a reason for deferring a decision, I point out that the demands of the industry in that respect would not be heavy, and, as Mr. Bingham indicated, some foreigners would have to be induced to come here for the purpose of instructing our fishermen in the art.

I urge the Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to discuss the subject as soon as practicable with the Minister for Supply and Development, and to emphasize to other Ministers the need for reaching a decision as to who will he responsible for controlling the matter. I shall not be very happy if it is relegated to the background in the present hurly-burly.

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