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MPAs balance jobs and the environment.

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Last updated: 5 July 2007

MPAs balance jobs and the environment

Australian Minister for Fisheries and Conservation, Senator Eric Abetz, hailed the South East Region Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) network to come into effect today as a sensible balance between jobs and the environment.

“At 226,000km2, or more than three times the size of Tasmania, the South East MPA network represents a massive boost to marine conservation in the South East marine region,” the Minister said.

“At the same time, I’m particularly pleased that we were able to reduce the impact on the fishing industry of the final MPA network by over 90 per cent from the original proposal. “Significantly, the impact on the Tasmanian scallop industry has been entirely removed, as has the impact on recreational fishers in the Freycinet area.”

The Minister said as a result of stakeholder consultation, more than 20 changes were made to the draft boundaries proposed in December 2005, reducing the impact on the fishing industry by over 90 per cent while at the same time increasing the MPA area by 24 per cent.

Senator Abetz praised the work of former Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries, Senator Richard Colbeck, Braddon MHR Mark Baker, Bass MHR Michael Ferguson, the Tasmanian State Parliamentary Liberal Party, and all his Federal colleagues who advocated strongly on behalf of local fishers.

“These people know that conservation and the legitimate sustainable harvest of our resources can co-exist,” the Minister said.

He also thanked all those who had contributed to the consultation process, particularly Professor Colin Buxton of the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, whose scientific input was invaluable.

The Minister noted this was the second piece of recent good news for South East oceans with the release yesterday of the Bureau of Rural Sciences Fisheries Status Report 2006 which showed that no Commonwealth-managed fishery has been classified as subject to

overfishing. This followed the commencement of the Australian Government’s landmark $220 million Securing our Fishing Future package in 2005.

Senator Abetz said that the outcomes achieved by the Securing our Fishing Future package and in the SE MPAs proved that only the Howard Government can be trusted to effectively balance the needs of jobs and the environment.

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Media enquiries: Brad Stansfield, 0419 884 666