Senate debates

Monday, 19 March 2012


Western Australia Export Fishing Licences

4:31 pm

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate—

  (a)   notes that:

     (i)   there are less than 12,500 Australian sea lions left in Australian waters and that the 2,000 left in Western Australian waters are extremely vulnerable,

     (ii)   one of the greatest threats to the survival of Australian sea lions is gillnets,

     (iii)   the Western Australian Department of Fisheries has failed to meet the government's conditions to put an observer program in place on boats within its gillnet fisheries to establish how many sea lions and dolphins are killed each year,

     (iv)   without observers, the number of Australian sea lions and dolphins dying in gillnets is likely to be grossly under reported, given that the example from the South Australian shark gillnet fishery demonstrated that few deaths were reported until observer-based studies identified up to 374 sea lions and 56 dolphins were dying every 18 months,

     (v)   the South Australian shark gillnet fishery now has compulsory video or observer coverage on every vessel, as well as new rules to protect Australian sea lions, and

     (vi)   the Western Australian Department of Fisheries is currently re-applying to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities for export approval for Western Australia's Temperate Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Fisheries;

  (b)   is concerned that, before any re-approval of export licensing, the Western Australian Department of Fisheries should identify its impact on sea lions and safeguard vulnerable and protected marine life from the fishery's impacts; and

  (c)   calls on the government to refuse the grant of the export licence for this fishery until an observer program is put in place and designated buffer zones are created around sea lion breeding colonies.

Photo of John HoggJohn Hogg (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the motion be agreed to.