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Misleading Conservation Campaigns Hinder Industry

by Ellen Hardy
07 March 2008, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA - Seafood promotion organisation 'Seafood Experience Australia' says it is deeply concerned that the Australian's are being "grossly misled" by a number of conservationist groups campaigns.

Recent advertisements by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and statements from the Australian Marine Conservation Society have rankled the organisation which imply that there are few controls over fishing and marine protection.

Company secretary Bob Cox said that the Australian community deserves accurate information, that is uncomplicated fashion, relevant and easily communicated.

"Governments, both Federal and State/Territory, set the quotas, create the management regimes and parameters for professional fishers licences. This is done in a rigorous and inclusive manner and based on a strong scientific approach, which ensures that every fishery is following the principles laid down in the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999 - something which must be audited to ensure that any product from that fishery can be exported. It is not, as we are falsely led to believe by many conservation groups, something that the professional fishing industry does without any Government controls," he explained.

His organisation also feels that aquaculture and its issues, gets lost in the environmental promotion. For example, the MSC has a certifying system which excludes aquaculture as a method of harvest. It's a fact that it does not broadcast and could also been viewed as misleading, said Mr Cox.

“At a time when FAO is reporting that production in fish and fishery products is set to expand, largely on the back of rising output from aquaculture, and other reports are indicating that 75 per cent of the world's marine resources are in good shape, we do not believe that Australians should be taken down the incorrect path of "gloom and doom" by these groups" said Mr Cox.

"People need to ask the question of these organisations as to whether they are working towards sustainability or conservationism," he added.

Seafood Experience Australia is urging the Australian community to work with the marine industry and governments towards sustainability. This platform is the only means of ensuring the long term future of Australia's seafood heritage.

Ellen Hardy