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ALP and government block Democrats marine environment bid.

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Senator Brian Greig Senator for Western Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Fisheries

Press Release Dated: 6 Apr 2000 Press Release Number: 00188bg Portfolio: Fisheries Related: Environment

ALP and Government block Democrats marine environment bid The ALP and Coalition today voted to block a move by the Democrats that would have helped with monitoring the sustainability of the fishing industry and highlight ways to improve the marine environment.

Democrats’ Fisheries spokesperson, Senator Brian Greig says that by using the narrow term ‘incidental catch’ rather than the broader and more common term ‘by-catch’, within fisheries legislation, the government is ignoring the plight of many marine creatures accidentally caught in fishing nets, and which ought to be recorded.

“The definition is now far too narrow and I moved today to amend this. It should have been kept in line with the criteria for ‘by-catch’ as recognised by the 1999 National Policy on Fisheries By-catch,” Senator Greig said.

“Sadly, the Government and Opposition seem to believe that marine life, including threatened species such as albatross, great white and grey nurse sharks and turtles, have no intrinsic value and should not be recorded in fishing boat log books when that are inadvertently caught,” he said.

The Democrats support ecologically sustainable fishing and legislation which provides greater protection for fish stocks and increased penalties for non-compliance.

“For this reason, we are very anxious that all marine and bird life literally caught up in the fishing industry, be monitored so we have some idea about what’s going on out there in our oceans, and can devise better ways to minimise the harm of by-catch,” he said.

“Today’s Fisheries Bill complements other significant controls introduced recently including the provision to strengthen the powers of fisheries officers to detain and deal with illegal fishing vessels including the use of ‘reasonable force’,” Senator Greig said.

“However, the defeat of the Democrats amendment to this Bill means that fishing by-catch - which can amount to more that 80 per cent of the total

catch - will not be recorded,” he said.

“The current conviction-based scheme for illegal foreign fishers has now been changed to one based on the automatic forfeiture of vessels, gear and catch. This will be effective in countering the problem of large, wealthy organisations paying relatively low fines while continuing to fish illegally in Australian waters.”


Top | Email Authorised by: Jim Downey, 10 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2604. Copyright © 2000 Australian Democrats Last modified: Thu, 09 Mar 2000 14:37:46 Today: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 10:57:05