Southern Bluefin Tuna Commission Goes Swimmingly

October 14, 2013

Fisheries delegates from around the world are gathered in Adelaide today to talk about the sustainable management of southern bluefin tuna.

Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said southern bluefin tuna was one of the world's most valuable fish species and an ecologically important stock.

"It's great that Australia is hosting this year's meeting, as one of the original member countries of the Commission, and one that greatly values the Commission's work," Senator Colbeck said.

"The work of this Commission is critical for Australian fisheries - with our southern bluefin tuna industry generating more than $150 million annually for the Australian economy through exports.

"Improving the sustainable status of southern bluefin tuna also benefits local employment and provides a stable investment environment for this valuable industry, especially in the Port Lincoln area," Senator Colbeck said.

"The annual session will propose measures to reduce impacts on other marine species when southern bluefin tuna is caught. By-catch reduction is an important part of every fishery agenda.

"We also largely funded the scientific aerial survey in the Great Australian Bight which is a key input in helping delegates determine a sustainable total allowable catch.

"This year's meeting is setting global and national catch limits for southern bluefin tuna for three years," Senator Colbeck said.

The Commission recently introduced strict quota controls and committed to a management procedure after evidence of stock depletion was confirmed.

"The Commission members showed their commitment to sustainable fishing practices so collectively nations with an involvement in the southern bluefin tuna fishery could work together to rebuild stocks to 20 per cent of unfished levels by 2035," Senator Colbeck said.

Members of the Extended Commission are Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and the Fishing Entity of Taiwan, with the Philippines, South Africa and the European Community participating as Cooperating Non-Members.

The 20th Annual Meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna runs from 14-17 October 2013 in Adelaide.

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