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Environment, Government TAS

Tasmanian government backflips on measures to protect depleted fish species

The Australia Institute 2 mins read

The Australia Institute Tasmania is calling on the Tasmanian government to keep in place protections for depleted fish populations.

The Tasmanian government has today announced a backflip on planned measures to rebuild depleted fish populations managed under the Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery. Instead, the government has reopened consultation on the rule changes until September 25 and ruled out some key protections for species.

Species that are assessed as depleted or depleting include sand flathead, calamari, striped trumpeter, bastard trumpeter, blue warehou, garfish and jackass morwong.

Key points:

·  Successive Tasmanian governments have ignored evidence of overfishing for decades.

·  Fishery rule changes were proposed to address depleted fish populations earlier this year.

·  Calamari: The government has abandoned the introduction of boat limits, and reduced commercial and recreational catch limits.

·  Spearfishing: A ban on spearfishing species depleted by decades of overfishing has been thrown out.

·  Charter fishing: The introduction of rules for charter operators targeting these species has been scrapped.

·  Other rule changes to address depleted fish populations have also been thrown out.

“The Tasmanian government should commit to ending overfishing and rebuild depleted fish populations rather than backflipping under pressure from some sectors,” the Australia Institute’s Tasmanian director, Eloise Carr, said.

“Some of these fish, like blue warehou and bastard trumpeter, have been classified as depleted for 20 years. The sand flathead has been depleting for a decade. Yet, the government is baulking at taking the most basic actions to address this.

“Australia Institute research has found an overwhelming number of Tasmanians support what the scientific evidence is telling the government to do, and that is to bring in measures aimed at rebuilding these fish stocks.

“More than 80 per cent of Tasmanians supported key measures to strengthen marine life protection including reducing catch limits, protecting fish nurseries and immediate banning recreational gillnetting. Only 5.6 per cent did not support any of these management responses.’

“Even before they were abandoned, the government’s proposed changes did not keep pace with other Australian jurisdictions. Fisheries with depleted stocks at these levels would be completely closed, without exception. The government needs to modernise Tasmania’s management framework to prioritise healthy oceans and build resilience to climate change and other increasing and competing pressures. It’s in our own best interest.”

Contact details:

Georgie Moore
0477 779 928

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