11 September 2012
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, has today announced a major review of Australian fisheries policy and legislation, the first of its kind in over twenty years.
Minister Ludwig said the root and branch review of Australia’s world leading fishery system would identify what, if any, improvements are needed to ensure community and industry expectations can be met into the future.
“My responsibility is to make sure our fisheries remain some of the most sustainable and best managed in the world, and that they are served by the best system possible,” Minister Ludwig said.
“I want to be sure our fisheries system can meet the challenges of today, as well as the next twenty years and beyond.
“There’s no doubt that our fisheries management is world class, but in the years since it was introduced there have been changes to the expectations of industry and the community. This review will ensure those expectations are being met.”
The review will look at the entire fisheries management regime, including its legislation, penalties, Ministerial oversight, socio-economic and environmental considerations.
“We have a very effective independent regulator – the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) – who manages and closely scrutinises all fishing activity in Australian waters in accordance with the Fisheries Management Act,” Minister Ludwig said.
“This review is not about the regulator or the fisheries science upon which AFMA bases its decisions – it is about how we operate the management system and apply that science most effectively.
“This review is an opportunity to look at the system more broadly and identify what improvements can be made over the long term to continue to get the best outcomes for our fisheries as well as the industry and community.
“There are a broad range of stakeholders who have a view on how Australia’s fisheries resources should be managed, and many of those views have been made clear over the last few weeks.
“I want our fishers and our fishery regulator to always hold the trust of the industry and the community. This review is designed to keep that trust.”
AFMA takes environmental considerations, such as bycatch, into account as part of its management process.
There is uncertainty around environmental science regarding the impacts of large freezer vessels on endangered species and other wildlife, and the Government has taken separate action in this regard.
This review will complement the existing Harvest Strategy Policy and Bycatch Policy reviews.
Further details of the review will be announced in coming days.