Monday, 7 September 2015
Environment and Communications References Committee; Reference
At the request of Senator Urquhart and Senator Brown, I move:
That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 April 2016:
The environmental, social and economic impacts of large capacity fishing vessels commonly known as 'supertrawlers' operating in Australia's marine jurisdiction, with particular reference to:
(a) the effect of large fishing vessels on the marine ecosystem, including:
(i) impacts on fish stocks and the marine food chain, and
(ii) bycatch and interactions with protected marine species;
(b) current research and scientific knowledge;
(c) social and economic impacts, including effects on other commercial fishing activities and recreational fishing;
(d) the effectiveness of the current regulatory framework and compliance arrangements; and
(e) any other related matters.
The government does not support this reference. The matter of the Small Pelagic Fishery has been referred by the Labor Party to two scientific panels, which have been reported and have been the subject of significant scientific research that has been published by the government as we committed to prior to the election.
People ask why there is a reluctance to invest in Australian primary industries and the use of this Senate inquiry to play politics with this matter is a clear example of why. There is a business out there that is trying to get on with conducting its business in this fishery, which has been approved and supported by institutions such as the CSIRO Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and SARDI in South Australia. The science is quite clear that this fishery can be sustainably fished and managed, yet the Labor Party wants to play politics with it.