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Queensland Fin Fish Fishery Review Welcomed

AUSTRALIA - Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin has welcomed the Australian Governments independent review of proposed new management arrangements for Queenslands East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery.

“This independent review will provide the Queensland Government with additional support and expert advice in the decision-making process in relation to this fishery.

“It also means that we can be confident that the final management arrangements to be considered by the Government meet requirements under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

“This fishery is the largest and most diverse in the State and includes the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

"Fisheries management is always about striking the balance between ensuring a healthy fishing industry and protecting our environment"
Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin

“The review will consider the fishery’s impacts on shark stocks and the potential for interactions with protected species, particularly dugongs, whales and sawfish.

“The Queensland Government is well aware of the concerns that have been raised by a variety of groups, including the scientific community, about shark fishing and about species protected under the EPBC Act, including dugong. We hope that this review will ease these concerns.

“It is important to note that there are no proposals to establish a shark fin fishery in Queensland. The practice of finning shark at sea is prohibited under the Fisheries Act and there are no proposals to amend that.

“The legislation also promotes the full use of the shark - for example, a fisher must be in possession of the shark fins and the barrel of the shark.

“Current proposals will actually limit the number of commercial fishers allowed to take shark to further protect vulnerable species, and establish a more stringent reporting regime for shark fishing.

“Fisheries management is always about striking the balance between ensuring a healthy fishing industry and protecting our environment - when it comes to Queensland’s oceans it’s about getting the balance right.

“In developing the proposals my Department set up a shark working group with shark experts from James Cook University and Queensland University and also used the risk assessments undertaken by CSIRO and EPA.

“This further review will add to the information and expertise which has already been gathered.

“Queensland’s fisheries are managed in accordance with the principles of ecological sustainable development which takes into account sustainability, economic viability, and social impacts.

“As this is an important fishery for the state of Queensland in terms of catch volume and the number of participants, any decision about proposed changes to the Inshore Fin Fish Fishery cannot be based purely on environmental grounds, these triple bottom line issues must be considered.”

The review of the fishery is expected to be completed by the end of October 2008.