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Tuesday, 8 October 1985
Page: 775

Senator TATE —Has the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry received representations from Tasmanian Labor senators and Mr Ken Wriedt, the Leader of the Opposition in Tasmania, asking for the Bass Strait scallop fishery task force recommendations on fishing of new scallop beds in Banks Strait to be modified? Has the State Minister for Fisheries been supportive of this approach to exclude the Victorian fishing boats from this bed? In any case, what modifications, if any, has the Minister made to the joint task force proposals?

Senator WALSH —I understand that Tasmanian senators-or Tasmanian Labor senators, at least; the others probably do not care-along with the Tasmanian Leader of the Opposition, have made such approaches to the Minister for Primary Industry. I am advised by the Minister that the Government is moving to implement the off shore constitutional settlement. It was agreed last July at the Australian Fisheries Council that 20-mile State zones for the Bass Strait scallop fishery will be established under the OCS. However, implementation of the zones must await discussions with Victoria and Tasmania on elements of the OCS affecting all fisheries of those States. Commonwealth and State officials will be reporting to Ministers before the end of the year on the outcome of these discussions. Pending implementation of the OCS and the zoning arrangements, this fishery will continue to be managed under Commonwealth law.

Recently, surveys by the Tasmanian Department of Sea Fisheries have identified beds of large scallops in good condition in Banks Strait off north-east Tasmania, within 20 miles of the Tasmanian coast. They are adjacent to beds of small scallops. In order to protect these small scallops, the Bass Strait Scallop Fishery Task Force has agreed on various regulatory and enforcement measures, including the provision of considerable assistance for surveillance from Victoria. The Minister advises me that he is well aware of the concerns in Tasmania that beds of small scallops should be protected for future fishing and has, therefore, agreed to the request of the Tasmanian Minister for Sea Fisheries that there should be only a limited period of fishing on the beds of large scallops. Consequently, only the area containing large scallops is to be open to fishing from 8 to 28 October, by which time most of the large scallops could have been taken. In the meantime, it is not possible or appropriate to discriminate against fishermen from Victoria in management of the scallop grounds currently located in Commonwealth waters.

Senator Chaney —I ask the Minister to table the paper from which he was quoting.

Senator WALSH —I was going to have it incorporated. It suits me fine.

The PRESIDENT —The Minister has tabled the paper in accordance with the request from the Leader of the Opposition.

Senator TATE —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I still want to know-and perhaps the Minister will obtain the information from the Minister for Primary Industry, Mr Kerin-whether the State Minister for Fisheries has been supportive of the approach of Tasmanian Labor senators to exclude Victorian fishing boats from this bed.

Senator WALSH —I understand that it is the case that the State Minister has been supportive. If that is wrong, then I will let Senator Tate know.