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Greens Bid to Halt Australia's Bluefin Tuna Fishery Defeated

CANBERRA - The Howard Government today turned back an attempt by the Australian Greens to close down Australias A$200 million southern bluefin tuna industry. The southern bluefin tuna is classed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert

On the third day of the current Parliamentary session, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert moved to disallow Australia's southern bluefin tuna quota for 2007.

"The government wants to see Australia take the largest share of this critically endangered species, taking more than 5,000 tonnes per year even as stocks have been hammered to the edge of extinction," Senator Siewert said.

Australian Minister for Fisheries and Conservation Senator Eric Abetz said that the effect of the Greens’ motion in the Senate today to disallow Australia’s national catch allocation would have been to close the fishery immediately for at least six months.

He said it would have put billions of dollars of investments and at least 3,500 South Australian jobs at risk.

“Australia’s national catch allocation was agreed by the international Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, CCSBT, as part of a landmark agreement, spearheaded by Australia, to cut back global catches, and is within levels recommended by the CCSBT’s independent scientific committee," Senator Abetz said.

Source: Environment News Service

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