2 November, 2014
Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, questioned the timing of a statement by the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation demanding more science around the small pelagic fishery.
"The statement by ARFF was premature as the release of the expert panel report is only weeks away. This report will provide the most up-to-date and peer reviewed scientific advice on the SPF," he said.
"The Government is doing as we promised and seeking further science around the SPF before making any further decisions regarding the resource."
Senator Colbeck said he was surprised ARFF was so quick to attack the fishery without first reviewing the science.
"It appears ARFF is attacking access to the fishery and positioning themselves to lobby for the fishery to be closed rather than dealing with the issue based on sound science."
"This stance severely diminishes their credibility as genuine participants in Australia's fisheries management."
Senator Colbeck the Government has responsibility of balancing an important recreation function and maintaining a sustainable seafood supply and food security for those who can't or don't participate in that recreation.
"Seafood is one of the most important sources of protein on the planet and makes up 25 per cent of the animal protein task. It is vital to our food security," he said.
According to professor Ray Hilborn, one of the world's most eminent marine scientists; "If the world's wild capture fisheries were replaced with terrestrial livestock production, then the extra grazing area required is equivalent to cutting down all the worlds rainforest 22 times over."
Senator Colbeck said Australia is making the hard decisions to put our fisheries back on track to achieve healthy and sustainable stocks.
"For the first time in eight years we now have no solely Commonwealth managed fisheries subject to overfishing," he said.
"Australia's fisheries are world class, sustainably managed and based on the best available scientific advice - and will continue to be so under this government's watch."