AUSTRALIA - The Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA) has applauded the Australian Government on delivering its election commitment for an independent review of Commonwealth Marine Reserves.
The chairs and terms of reference for the Expert Scientific Panel and Bioregional Advisory Panels were announced 11 September 2014.
CFA had repeatedly sought assurances from the previous Labor Government for genuine stakeholder consultation on the important issue of Marine Park management plans. However, at times it seemed that the previous Labor Government was rushing to put these reserves into place to appease the Greens.
“The Coalition Government’s Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review will instigate a proper and genuine consultation process; one that involves stakeholders that will be directly affected by the Marine Parks, which was originally denied by the previous Labor - Green Government,” Anthony Ciconte Chair of CFA stated.
Mr Ciconte when on to say: “We welcome the review as it ensures a science-based review, not the tick and flick consultation we saw in the past. It is important to our industry to get the marine reserves zoning right and more importantly to get it right for the generational fishing families and coastal economies, and the Australian seafood consumer.”
“Putting fresh Australian seafood on your table is directly dependent on sustainable access allowing us to catch the fish. There is no reason to unfairly penalise the seafood industry or the seafood consumer when Australia’s fishing industry is deemed to be world’s best practice in terms of environment interactions and sustainability. We support the expert scientific panel to review the science and boundary area for each zone.”
Australia is ranked second in the world for achieving sustainable fisheries management. A National Fish Stock Status report funded by the Australian Government Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) found that Australia’s fish stocks are sustainable and adequate management measures are currently in place to improve stocks. This level of sustainability is achieved through sound fisheries management, not marine reserves.
A healthy fishery is an asset, and conserving marine life and fish stocks is therefore just as vitally important to the commercial fishing industry as it is to the Australian public. It is widely accepted in the scientific community that sustainable management of fisheries is about sound science and research. Locking up areas to fishing is not the way to manage fisheries.
The CFA believe the experts on both the scientific review panel and the bioregional advisory panels will have the capacity to facilitate input from a broad range of stakeholders. The CFA looks forward to working closely with the Australian Government to ensure the process is right this time.
TheFishSite News Desk