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Bass Strait scallop audit results released.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Bass Strait scallop audit results released

17 October 2008 DAFF08/143B

The Rudd Government has released an independent audit study looking at the treatment of Bass Strait scallop fishers during last year’s fisheries licence buyout.

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke announced the audit study in June this year, in response to scallop fishers’ concerns about the buyout.

The Ernst & Young report made six findings which the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will consider in designing any possible future programs.

The report found two small anomalies relating to individual bids submitted from other fisheries and modest additional payments may be made to two individuals as a result of these anomalies being identified.

The report did not “identify any matters where the [Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery] was affected to a greater or lesser extent than other fisheries”.

The report does not recommend a further buyback is necessary.

“I met this year with scallop fishers in Lakes Entrance to hear first-hand their concerns about the process,” Mr Burke said.

“The release of this report fulfils one part of the Government’s commitment to Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop fishers.

“The Government will also undertake a broad survey encompassing areas that have previously yielded scallops to better inform management decisions.

“The Government will consider the future of the fishery after the survey findings are known.”

The Australian National Audit Office will finalise a comprehensive review of the former Government’s Securing our Fishing Future program in early 2009.

The full Ernst & Young report is available at