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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Commonwealth Marine Reserves Disgust -

Commonwealth Marine Reserves Disgust - Steven Kons, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

The Tasmanian Government says it?s disgusted at the proposed new marine reserves in Commonwealth waters.

Primary Industries and Water Minister Steve Kons says it?s particularly galling that the Federal Government had not consulted the State over its plans.

?The Commonwealth with one fell swoop is intent on destroying the iconic Tasmanian fishery by wiping it off the face of the map.

?The philosophy of absolute power corrupts absolutely is evident in this bizarre move that will throw hundreds of fishing families into the lines at Centrelink.?

Mr Kons said nothing has incensed him more during his time as Minister as this move that will destroy Australia?s premier sustainable fishery.

?Canberra has had confidence to vest the management of fisheries like rock lobster and scallops in the State, including in Commonwealth waters, yet it hasn?t bothered to ask how these closures will impact on them.

?The map shows areas off limits to commercial fishing or open to only restricted fishing totalling two and a half times the size of Tasmania.

?And it is disproportionately closer to Tasmania than any of the other states.

?It is interesting that the Commonwealth is prepared to barely touch their mates in the petrochemical and sea mining industries but don?t care about our fishers.?

Mr Kons said he would seek meetings with Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell and Fisheries Minister Ian Macdonald as soon as possible to try to have the proposals reviewed.

?Closing these vast areas for commercial crayfishing and scallop fishing will put more pressure on those remaining open, yet the fishery is being managed on a completely sustainable basis.

?In fact research clearly shows stocks are improving since the introduction of the quota management system.?

Mr Kons said the new reserves proposed east of Bass Strait had the potential to halve the rebuilding scallop fishery.

?Again Tasmania?s scallops fishery, in contrast with that based in Commonwealth waters, is being well managed with the introduction of state-of-the-art technological aids.

?Fishermen for the first time in a decade have had confidence to negotiate export orders for our scallops invest heavily in state of the art equipment, which are deservedly an icon of our primary industries sector.

?The reserves completely undermine Tasmania?s management strategy for the fishery and we?ll have to go back to square one.?

Mr Kons said Tasmanian-based Commonwealth fisheries like the trawl sector targeting species like blue eye trevalla would also be severely affected with flow-ons to processing jobs.

Any offer by the Commonwealth for structural readjustment would have to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars to be acceptable.

Mr Kons said the publication of the Federal plans puts Tasmanian Liberals in a tricky position only days after announcing a premature plan for wholesale relocation of crayfish from the South to the North West.

?I would urge Jeremy Rockliff , Rene Hidding and Senator Richard Colbeck to start banging on doors in Canberra to have this over-the-top proposal recast.

?But at the end of the day it will be the State Government that will have to do the work with industry to resolve this issue as these members have invariably squibbed the hard decisions to support local industry.?

Further information: Tasmanian Government Communications Unit
Phone: (03) 6233 6573


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