8 January 2018
Mr Darren Kindleysides
Australian Marine Conservation Society
Dear Mr Kindleysides
I understand the Australian Marine Conservation Society, in concert with Save Our Marine Life, is engaged in a campaign to mislead the Australian people regarding foreign fishing fleets and the proposed Australian marine parks.
As I noted in my response to Ms Michelle Grady, without any evidence and contrary to the facts, your petition claims Australia’s waters, including those of proposed marine parks, are about to be flooded with cheap distant water fishing fleets.
Your organisations’ brazen dishonesty with regard to this matter is breathtaking.
Your petition deliberately fails to acknowledge Australia’s global reputation as a world leader in fisheries management, especially in terms of ecological and environmental perspectives, which has resulted in no fishery solely managed by the Commonwealth subject to overfishing for the fourth consecutive year.
Your petition deliberately fails to acknowledge that Australia’s fisheries management regime ensures that total allowable catches (TACs) for all fish stocks are set at ecologically sustainable levels.
Your petition fails to acknowledge that any vessel operating in Australian waters must follow Commonwealth fishery rules and regulations. There are absolutely no exceptions to this requirement whatsoever.
Your petition fails to acknowledge that any fishing vessel, either foreign or Australian, cannot fish in declared non-take marine protected areas or green zones.
Your petition fails to acknowledge Australia’s obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to allow for the use of foreign vessels in the Australian Fishing Zone; nor does it reference the extremely strict requirements the Australian Government imposes on such vessels, which are outlined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991.
Your petition fails to acknowledge the new marine parks will strengthen conservation outcomes, support sustainable fishing, attract more tourism, provide cultural, recreational and economic benefits for coastal communities and deliver investment certainty for fishing businesses.
The Australian Government’s management of marine parks will restore a balanced approach and allow a variety of uses for our shared marine resources. The government seeks not only to safeguard ecosystems, but also the interests of current and future generations of the Australian people by striking the right balance between economic, social and environmental objectives consistent with the aspirations of the entire Australian community.
If your organisation or Save Our Marine Life are in anyway accountable, you will amend the petition with the facts outlined above or at the very least post this response on your websites.
This response will be made available on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website at agriculture.gov.au. The government will not respond individually to campaign correspondence from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Save Our Marine Life or any related websites.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
Senator for South Australia