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Thursday, 25 September 1958

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

1.   Has a Captain D. M. Milne offered the Commonwealth authorities information, the result of many years of research work, regarding the potentiality of fishing grounds along the Queensland coast?

2.   Did Captain Milne seek no financial gain from his offer?

3.   Is it a fact that this offer was rejected by the Commonwealth and that the Japanese have now developed a successful fishing industry in Australian waters which had been favorably reported upon by Captain Milne?

Mr McMahon - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. Captain Milne has not approached my department, but I am informed that in June of this year, he visited the C.S.I.R.O. Division of Fisheries and Oceanography at Cronulla, and discussed the question of using an underwater sledge he had developed, for sampling the sea bed. I am also informed that no offer of data relating to the fishing potential off the Queensland coast was made by Captain Milne and that he did not ask for any financial assistance.

3.   I understand that Captain Milne was advised to discuss the question of the use of his underwater sledge with officers of the Great Barrier Reef Research Council which has a marine laboratory on Heron Island. It is known that Japanese tuna vessels have been operating for a number of years in the Coral Sea and adjoining areas.

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