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Wednesday, 8 December 2004
Page: 148

Senator Brown asked the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, upon notice, on 21 October 2004:

Given the following extract from the website of the South Australian Branch of Marine and Coastal Community network; `South Australian fishers have continued to criticize Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) to allow automatic longline fishing in the southern fishery. Speaking on ABC radio, Alan Suter, from the Commercial Marine Scalefish Executive Committee and the West Coast Fishermen's Association has claimed most South Australia fishers are opposed to the practice. The fishers have also expressed extreme disappointment in State Fisheries for failing to protect the fishers and fish stocks. Fourteen trial auto-long-lining permits have been issued, allowing each fisher to put up to 15,000 hooks into the water twice a day. AFMA claims it will not compromise sustainability in deciding to allow the use of automatic long-lining in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF). Apart from existing trial permits, no further auto-long-lining permits will be granted until further examination of the management measures required':

(1) Were relevant stakeholders consulted before the AFMA issued the auto-long-lining permits.

(2) Has there, in the light of the criticisms by the industry, been any review of the policy of allowing automatic longline fishing; if not, will the Government instruct the AFMA to conduct such a review, involving full consultation with the affected parties within the Australian fishing industry.

Senator Ian Macdonald (Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) A review is currently being undertaken.