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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3091


Senator ARCHER(10.11) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

Around Australia there is always a certain amount of apprehension about entering into agreements with foreign countries for the use or dispersal of our natural resources. This is very much the case with the new Australian-Japanese Tuna Long -Line Fishing Agreement. I do not believe that there is any need for apprehension, but I believe that there is a need to make sure that people in Australia, particularly those with fishing interests, are better informed as to what it actually implies. The Agreement provides up to 290 Japanese vessels to pay $2,275,000 for fishing in Australian territorial waters, within the 200-mile limit. It enables them to use the ports of Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart, Fremantle, Albany and Port Hedland.

This Agreement is an improvement on other international agreements, and this is something that I would certainly urge the Government and the Department of Primary Industry to take note of, in that article 5 permits bulk applications for licences. Other joint fishing ventures do not allow for this. I believe it is important that there should be heads of agreement so that things can be done in the easiest form and these international arrangements can be made to work. The preliminary Agreement provides that all the little details can be organised after the main Agreement is put into force. I think that is important because it needs to be shown that things can work and will work if they are done in that manner. As a result of discussions, it was suggested that the Australian fishing industry should have more access to Japan. The subject of whether the entry of best quality Australian tuna into the Japanese sashimi market would be difficult was discussed. The Japanese delegation informed us that there would be no particular restrictions against the Australians being able to export tuna and that market access is and will be available for such Australian fish and fish products under the Japanese import system. They would attract a tariff of 5 per cent, but apart from that they would be acceptable. I hope it will be possible to modify the Agreement in the years ahead as, I hope, more and more Australian fishermen see the possibilities of fishing in these waters which the Japanese have traditionally used but which have not been normally used by the Australian fishermen. I believe that if we follow the lead and the development that has gone on in the years past by the traditional fishermen of the area, there is still an avenue open to Australia to provide food for a world which needs it more than ever.