Contributed by Ugly
Malcolm Turnbull and his crew in Canberra have a plan, and that is to 0pen up Australia’s waters to large scale commercial fishing. They have been involved in under the counter talks with commercial fishing interests, to allow foreign ships to enter Australian waters, be re-flagged as Australian and use Australian ports.
This is a direct assault on the smaller scale local fishing industry, which will be unable to compete against bigger foreign vessels using cut price labour and operating on a huge scale. A fishing industry is legitimate, so long as it is properly managed and carried out sustainably, and this will not be the case here.
The sorry excuses that make up our government, are moving towards allowing fishing on a much bigger and unsustainable scale, when the evidence already shows that fishing stock in Australian waters have declined by about 30 percent over the last 10 years, and they weren’t in a particularly healthy state back then.
As if this is not enough, there is a plan to open existing marine park sanctuaries to exploitation. This would cause havoc to important breeding waters and the bycatch, will cause destruction to many other species, including protected turtles, sea birds, sharks and dolphins.
The intention is to open the waters for the expansion of transhipping, which is the practice where a fleet of smaller vessels transfer their catch to a much bigger carrier ship located nearby. This means more catches by each ship and not wasting time in going back to port and out again. It is also fishing on a large organised industrial scale.
The previous Abbott government did impose a 130 metre limit on ship length, in the wake of the Geelong Star case. It is meaningless, given that there are only three ships in existence that are longer than this.
Over fishing in other parts of this planet has already caused serious harm to the health of the oceans. We know that healthy oceans are essential to the health of the planet and a sustainable future.
The madness must stop.
Save our Marine Life, a coalition of 20 leading conservation groups has a petition that is worthwhile signing. It is still possible to make a submission to the government through the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) portal. But the opportunity closes on Friday 6 July.
There is far from any guarantee that these efforts on their own will put a stop to it. For this reason, they are linked to a bigger and ongoing campaign.