Rec fishers renew support supertrawler ban: Poll

THE Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the national body representing Australia’s recreational fishing community, today reconfirmed its support for Prime Minister Tony Abbott's ban on supertrawlers.

The Prime Minister announced his ban on these industrial fishing boats in March this year.

ARFF Managing Director Allan Hansard said:  “In recent weeks we have had a chance to review the most recent information on the management of the Small Pelagic Fishery from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

We are not convinced that there is sufficient new information to change our position on the industrial exploitation of this fishery.

“Our position has been clear on this issue. We seek a comprehensive scientific assessment before any decision is made on if or how the Small Pelagic Fishery should be fished, including:

•             The fish stocks, both aggregate and at defined regional levels;

•             Identification of any regional based sub stocks;

•             Their movement within the fishery boundaries;

•             The impact of varying intensities of commercial fishing on the fishery and food web and in particular the risk of localised depletion of small pelagics;

•             The economic and social impact of varying intensities of commercial fishing in the Small Pelagic Fishery on local existing commercial operations, recreational fishing opportunities and local communities bordering the fishery; and

•             The national benefits and opportunity costs of adopting an industrial scale commercial fishing model for the Small Pelagic Fishery.

“In summary, we are yet to be convinced that introducing industrial scale fishing practices to this fishery is the highest and best use of this natural resource, nor is it in the national interest.

“We are aware that the report from the Independent Scientific Panel detailing the impacts of industrial fishing is now with Government. However, unless the report sheds significant new light on the issue, we will continue to support the Prime Minister's decision to ban the supertrawlers from our waters,” Mr Hansard said.

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