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Government acts for a sustainable fishing future.

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DAFF05/230MJ - 24 November 2005

Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation - Senator Ian Macdonald Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage - Senator Ian Campbell

Government acts for a sustainable fishing future

A bold new start for Commonwealth fisheries has been outlined in a major announcement by the Australian Government.

Australian Fisheries and Conservation Minister Senator Ian Macdonald, and the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today launched the $220 million initiative following significant concerns within Government and the industry about the poor state of Australia's fish stocks, and the future sustainability and profitability of the industry.

"The Government has listened to industry, scientists and sensible environmentalists, and has looked closely at the future of our fisheries," Senator Macdonald said.

"Today, we are very pleased to announce a major package of one-off, capped structural adjustment assistance and improved management measures for those fisheries managed by the Australian Government.

"It is a fact, accepted by industry, that there are too many boats chasing too few fish in many of our fisheries."

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority announcement today of further significant reductions in allowable catch levels and effort for 2006 and beyond in some fisheries will help underpin the sustainability of our fisheries.

"The centrepiece of the package is $150 million for one-off structural adjustment assistance focused on reducing the high level of fishing capacity in those fisheries that are subject to over-fishing - or at

significant risk of over-fishing," Senator Campbell said.

"This will also address the displaced fishing effort arising from the creation of marine protected areas in the south east marine region. Industry will have greater certainty and undergo only one adjustment process, not two."

The package includes a further $70 million in complementary assistance, designed to assist other on-shore businesses most directly impacted by the changes.

"Today's announcement, in effect, means the Government is stepping in as a circuit-breaker. We want all Commonwealth fisheries to be run sustainably - for environmental reasons, and to ensure those remaining in the industry are able to earn a decent living," Senator Macdonald said.

Senator Campbell said the package would help secure a fisheries management system that effectively managed the impacts of fishing on the Commonwealth marine environment.

"The declaration of a network of protected areas in the south east marine region, as well as these fisheries reforms, reinforces the Australian Government's commitment to the sustainable use of our marine environment," Senator Campbell said.

Further media inquiries:

Senator Macdonald's office: David Crisafulli 0400 144 483 Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos 0418 568 434