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Minister meets with delegation of representatives from game fishing organisations in Qld and N.S.W. to discuss proposed Australia/Japan fisheries agreement



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PRIM ARY INDUSTRY

M ED IA RELEASE

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STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRY

CANBERRA

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. (Statement by the Hon. P.J. Nixon, MP, Minister for Primary Industry)

The Minister for Primary Industry, Mr. Peter Nixon, this

evening met with a delegation of representatives from game

fishing organisations in Queensland and N .S.W., to discuss the

proposed Australia/Japan Fisheries Agreement, due to be

signed tomorrow.

Mr. Nixon said the delegation asked if he would seek a voluntary

withdrawal by the’Japanese of their tuna longline fishing vessels

from operating in waters off the Queensland coast between 13 degrees

and 18 degrees South, during the period of the Access Agreement.

Mr. Nixon said he gave the delegation an assurance that he

would take their request to the Government as soon as possible, and

that if the Government agreed, he would put the proposition to

the Japanese.

Mr. Nixon also agreed to the establishment of a working

committee, to be made up of representatives from the Commonwealth,

Queensland and N.S.W. Governments, as well as representatives from

game fishing organisations, to closely monitor and collate

information during the 12 month agreement. He said he would be

in contact with his Queensland and N.S.W. counterparts in relation

to this. ‘

The Minister stressed to the delegation the significance of

having an agreement between Australia and Japan, and the positive

gains to Australia in reaching the agreement.

He said that up until the time of this agreement, Japanese

longline fishing vessels were able to operate in Australian waters

up to the 12-mile limit.

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■ Now, their operations were considerably restricted, and

longline vessels were totally excluded from operating in large

areas around Australia, including about 80,000 square miles

off the Queensland coast. - '

Also, Mr. Nixon pointed out that under the terms of

the agreement, there would be extremely close monitoring of

Japanese longline activities.

"In this regard, the working committee that is to be

set up will perform a highly important role.

"If it is found that there are elements of the agreement

which Australia considers require modification or re-negotiation,

then Australia will be in a stronger position to re-negotiate

with the Japanese at the end of the 12 months. X

"I gave the delegation an assurance that the Australian

Government was vitally concerned to ensure adequate protection

of the marlin fishery off north Queensland, and we will-not

allow longline fishing activities to jeopardise that fishery.

"However, on the basis of the information that has been

available to us, there is no biological evidence to show that

either marlin or tuna stocks are being endangered by

current fishing activities," Mr. Nixon said. '

CANBERRA

October 16, 1979.