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Survey of Yellowfin Tuna in Queensland waters

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FOR PRESS Wot to be released

until 4 p»m.

Thursday, 22nd July.


The Commonwealth and Queensland Governments are -to combine in a

survey of waters outside the Great Barrier Reef to determine the prospects'

of establishing a yellowfin tuna fishery in the area.

This was announced today in a joint statement by the Commonwealth

Minister for Primary Industry, Mr. C.F. Adermann, and the Queensland

Treasurer, Mr. T.A. Hiley. ' . '

Adult tuna are taken by the Japanese in deeper waters of the

Coral Sea using the long-line method, which is little used by Australian

fishermen. Investigations into long-line fishing for tuna were undertaken

by an Australian mission to Japan, Hawaii and Samoa which reported: .

"Unless the present cost-price relationship of the Australian tuna fishing

industry changes substantially it is considered that Australian fishermen

could not operate- profitably in deep sea long-lining on a year round basis."

There are grounds for believing, however, that there may be important

concentrations of surface-schooling juvenile.yellowfin tuna just outside

the Barrier Reef, and that they can be taken by the pole and bait method,

which is now well established, in Australia.

Total cost of the survey is estimated at £34,000, with the

Commonwealth providing £17,000 from the Fisheries Development Trust Account,

and the Queensland State Government a similar amount.

The survey will be concentrated in Queensland waters off Gladstone,

Cairns and Townsville over two consecutive periods of eight weeks each, '

starting in August, and will be under the technical direction of the

C.S.I.R.0. Division of Fisheries and Oceanography. It will be administered

by the Queensland Department of'Harbours and Marine and a committee comprising

representatives of the C.S.I.R.0., the Commonwealth Department of Primary

Industry and the Queensland Department of Harbours and Marine will be

responsible for the overall supervision.

It is planned to use an aircraft to spot tuna shoals, and a

supporting fishing vessel to catch and identify the fish and secure

scientific and technical data which cannot be obtained from the air.

The first stage of the survey will be based on Gladstone and

will cover the Swains, the Saumarez, the Frederick and Wreck Reefs,

Cato and Lady Frederick Islands. During the second period, which will

follow immediately on the first, it is proposed to cover reefs offshore

between Townsville and Cairns, extending 300 miles seaward to the Lihou


The Australian tuna fishing industry, which was established

about 15 years ago, at present exploits chiefly the southern bluefin

tuna and operations are concentrated in southern New South Wales and

South Australian waters where the annual catch is around 9,000 tons.

No commercial tuna fishing is undertaken in northern waters by

Australian fishermen. · <


22nd July, 1965.

34/65 p