Australia driving sustainable fishing in global forum

22 May 2015

A joint proposal by Australia, Maldives and the European Union to guide sustainable catch limits on key tuna stocks has been adopted by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission at its annual meeting in April.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the adoption of the proposal was a significant result for sustainability in the world's second largest tuna fishery.

"This binding measure will help ensure these shared tuna stocks are fished sustainably, which benefits our domestic industry and helps ensure the profitability of fishing enterprises across the Indian Ocean," Senator Colbeck said.

"The Australian Government worked closely with the Maldives and the European Union to develop and present the proposal to the Commission.

"It sets revised targets and reference points based on principles used in Australia's world-class Commonwealth fisheries, as well as a work plan that focuses on avoiding and addressing stock depletion.

"Tuna species are highly migratory and move across international boundaries, making the sustainable management of this fishery a regional responsibility.

"The adoption of our proposal is a great result in a complex, multi-national regulatory setting."

Senator Colbeck said Australia is recognised among the world's best fisheries managers.

"Our expertise on harvest strategies and measuring biomass was critical in developing this proposal to better manage fish stocks sustainably into the future," Senator Colbeck said.

"This follows on from a similar Australian-sponsored agreement at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission last year to implement a harvest strategy approach for key commercial stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

"We also provide funding for capacity building workshops for developing coastal nations in the Indian Ocean region, to strengthen knowledge and conservation practices in our region.

"There are still major challenges for sustainable fishing in both the Indian and Pacific oceans, but implementing core fisheries management measures, such as harvest strategies, are important first steps in our regional approach to address them.

"It is a testament to Australia's world-leading fisheries management that we are able to provide this expertise to continue to drive sustainability at a global level, and it shows a commitment to sustainability outside our borders."

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