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SeaNet funding vital to the future of Clarence's fishing industry.

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Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Canberra: 62 77 4447

Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper


March 31, 2008

SeaNet funding vital to the future of Clarence’s fishing industry

The ongoing viability of the Clarence fishing industry was dependent on future funding for the SeaNet project, The Nationals Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said today.

Mr Hartsuyker was commenting on speculation that the Rudd Government intended to cut funding for the SeaNet programme.

“SeaNet provides the vital link between scientific research and the fishing industry,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“In order to ensure industry is aware of the latest research it is essential there are open lines of communication between the scientists and the fishermen.

“SeaNet’s aim is to work with the fishing industry to minimise the catch of non target species and to encourage environmental best practice for industry.

“The program is about providing economic and environmental sustainability in the fishing industry.”

Mr Hartsuyker, who recently met with a representative from the Clarence Professional Fishermen’s Association, said there was genuine concern within the fishing industry that SeaNet funding would be cut by the Rudd Government.

“SeaNet has previously been funded under the Natural Heritage Trust. However, the Rudd Government recently announced changes to NHT funding and in some areas have cut guaranteed funding by up to 40 per cent.

“Existing funding for SeaNet expires on June 30. I have written to the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke urging the Government to continue funding for this important initiative.

“Professional fishing is a vital industry in the Clarence Valley and the withdrawal of funding for SeaNet would undermine future sustainability.”


Photo caption: Federal Member Luke Hartsuyker discusses the importance of SeaNet funding with John Harrison from the Clarence Professional Fishermen's Association.