House of Representatives Committees

Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs

Inquiry into the Management of Commonwealth Fisheries

MEDIA RELEASES

16 July 1996
19 September 1996
7 November 1996
15 November 1996
22 November 1996
3 December 1996
10 February 1997
12 Februrary 1997
4 March 1997
24 March 1997
2 April 1997
7 April 1997
20 June 1997
25 June 1997 

Mr Ronaldson said:

"The audit report raises questions about the appropriateness of current policy and the administrative arrangements for the protection, sustainability and management of Commonwealth fisheries.

"AFMA is the statutory authority responsible for managing Commonwealth fisheries to the outer boundary of the Australian Fishing Zone. State and Territory Governments manage the inshore fisheries, although several major fisheries are administered under Commonwealth law by agreement with the States. Examining the performance of AFMA and other agencies with significant responsibility for the management of Commonwealth fisheries and the complex jurisdictional issues associated with the management of Australia's fisheries are likely to be important issues which will be integral to the inquiry."

Mr Ronaldson also said:

"Another aspect of the audit report which the Committee found startling was the finding that AFMA could not be certain that it was achieving ecologically sustainable development of Commonwealth fisheries. The lack of knowledge about fish stock and their habitats caused the Auditor-General to conclude that 'fish stocks cannot be regarded as being adequately protected from the possibility of excessive commercial fishing'. The adequacy of knowledge about fish stock and habitats and the ecological sustainability of Commonwealth fisheries were important issues which the Committee would be exploring.

"According to the report, the economic efficiency of Commonwealth fisheries does not appear to have improved since the establishment of AFMA in 1992. This finding is based on such indicators as AFMA's statistics for fishing permits, statutory rights and boats, the use of inherently inefficient input quota controls and the ineffectiveness of the quota system in the South East Fishery. The economic efficiency of fisheries managed by AFMA will also be a focus of the Committee's inquiry."

Mr Ronaldson said that the Committee is seeking submissions to its inquiry from interested individuals and organisations and that public hearings will be conducted during the coming months to take evidence from witnesses.

[2] 19 September 1996

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE BEGINS INQUIRY INTO FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The Acting Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, the Hon Dick Adams MP (Lyons, TAS), today announced the commencement of public hearings relating to the Committee's inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries.

The inquiry follows the presentation to Parliament of Audit Report No 32 1995-96 Commonwealth Fisheries Management - Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The report, which examined the efficiency and effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management by AFMA, was referred to the Committee for inquiry.

Mr Adams emphasised that the Committee has not drawn any conclusions at this stage from the findings and recommendations contained in the Auditor-General's report. However, he said that the report raises a number of serious issues which the Committee will be exploring during the course of its inquiry.

The first public hearings will be held in Hobart, Tasmania on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 September 1996.

The witnesses will include industry representatives, government officials and participants in Commonwealth fisheries surrounding Tasmania, including the South East Fishery and Southern Shark Fishery. Representatives of the Tasmanian Government will also give evidence.

Mr Adams said that the Committee has received a number of submissions to its inquiry from interested individuals and organisations and that the public hearings will be an opportunity for the witnesses to elaborate on the matters raised in their submissions.

[3] 7 November 1996

INQUIRY INTO FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The Acting Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, the Hon Dick Adams MP (Lyons, TAS), today announced the continuation of public hearings relating to the Committee's inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries.

The inquiry follows the presentation to Parliament of Audit Report No 32 1995-96 Commonwealth Fisheries Management - Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The report, which examined the efficiency and effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management by AFMA, was referred to the Committee for inquiry.

Mr Adams emphasised that the Committee has not drawn any conclusions at this stage from the findings and recommendations contained in the Auditor-General's report. However, he said that the report raises a number of serious issues which the Committee will be exploring during the course of its inquiry. These issues included the performance of AFMA in the management of Commonwealth fisheries and the ecological sustainability of fisheries under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth.

A public hearing will be held in Canberra on Friday 8 November.

Witnesses at the public hearing on 8 November will include the Australian Seafood Industry Council, the peak body representing the fishing industry; the World Wide Fund for Nature; the Australian Fisheries Management Authority; and the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industries and Energy.

Mr Adams said that the Committee has received a number of submissions to its inquiry from interested individuals and organisations and that the public hearings will be an opportunity for the witnesses to elaborate on the matters raised in their submissions.

[4] 15 November 1996

INQUIRY INTO FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The Acting Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, the Hon Dick Adams MP (Lyons, TAS), today announced the continuation of public hearings relating to the Committee's inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries.

The inquiry follows the presentation to Parliament of Audit Report No 32 1995-96 Commonwealth Fisheries Management - Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The report, which examined the efficiency and effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management by AFMA, was referred to the Committee for inquiry.

Mr Adams emphasised that the Committee has not drawn any conclusions at this stage from the findings and recommendations contained in the Auditor-General's report. However, he said that the report raises a number of serious issues which the Committee will be exploring during the course of its inquiry. These issues included the performance of AFMA in the management of Commonwealth fisheries and the ecological sustainability of fisheries under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth.

A public hearing will be held at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 18 November, 8.30am - 11.30am in Committee Room 1R1. The program for the hearing is on the reverse page.

The program will include industry participants in the South East Fishery, with witnesses coming from Nowra, Ulladulla, Eden and Bateman's Bay.

Mr Adams said that the Committee has received a number of submissions to its inquiry from interested individuals and organisations and that the public hearings will be an opportunity for the witnesses to elaborate on the matters raised in their submissions.

[5] 22 November 1996

INQUIRY INTO FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The Deputy Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, the Hon Dick Adams MP (Lyons, TAS), today announced the continuation of public hearings relating to the Committee's inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries.

The inquiry follows the presentation to Parliament of Audit Report No 32 1995-96 Commonwealth Fisheries Management - Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The report, which examined the efficiency and effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management by AFMA, was referred to the Committee for inquiry.

Mr Adams emphasised that the Committee has not drawn any conclusions at this stage from the findings and recommendations contained in the Auditor-General's report. However, he said that the report raises a number of serious issues which the Committee will be exploring during the course of its inquiry. These issues included the performance of AFMA in the management of Commonwealth fisheries and the ecological sustainability of fisheries under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth.

Public hearings will be held in Port Lincoln and Adelaide on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 November 1996. The programs for the hearings are on the reverse page.

In Port Lincoln, the program will include industry participants in the Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery. In Adelaide, the program will include State Government representatives (South Australia and Western Australia) and participants in the Northern Prawn, Great Australian Bight and Southern Shark fisheries.

Mr Adams said that the Committee has received a number of submissions to its inquiry from interested individuals and organisations and that the public hearings will be an opportunity for the witnesses to elaborate on the matters raised in their submissions.

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INQUIRY INTO THE MANAGEMENT OF COMMONWEALTH FISHERIES

PUBLIC HEARING PROGRAMS

PORT LINCOLN

TUESDAY 26 NOVEMBER, 1996

2.30pm - 3.30pm Australian Tuna Boat Owners Association

Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery

Mr Brian Jeffriess, President ATBOA and others

ADELAIDE

WEDNESDAY 27 NOVEMBER, 1996

9.00am - 9.45am South Australian Government

Mr David Hall, Director of Fisheries

Department of Primary Industries, SA

9.45am - 10.30am Western Australian Fisheries Department

Mr Charles Thorn, Director of Regional Services

Fisheries Department of Western Australia

10.30am - 10.45am Morning Tea

10.45am - 11.30am Conservation Council of WA

Ms Giz Watson

11.30am - 12.30pm Kailis and France/Northern Prawn Fishery

Mr Murray France, Executive Partner

Kailis and France Foods

12.30pm - 1.30pm Lunch

1.30pm - 2.00pm A Raptis and Sons

Mr Jim Raptis, General Manager

2.00pm - 2.30pm Southern Shark Fishery

Mr Trevor Gilmore (to be confirmed)

[6] 3 December 1996

INQUIRY INTO FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, Mrs Fran Bailey MP (McEwen, VIC), today announced the continuation of public hearings relating to the Committee's inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries.

The inquiry follows the presentation to Parliament of Audit Report No 32 1995-96 Commonwealth Fisheries Management - Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The report, which examined the efficiency and effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management by AFMA, was referred to the Committee for inquiry.

Mrs Bailey emphasised that the Committee has not drawn any conclusions at this stage from the findings and recommendations contained in the Auditor-General's report. However, she said that the report raises a number of serious issues which the Committee will be exploring during the course of its inquiry.

A public hearing will be held in Committee Room 1R3, Parliament House, Canberra on Wednesday 4 December 1996 from 10.15am - 11.00am. The only witness scheduled to appear is the national peak body representing recreational fishers, Recfish Australia.

Mrs Bailey said that the Committee has received a number of submissions to its inquiry from interested individuals and organisations and that the public hearings will be an opportunity for the witnesses to elaborate on the matters raised in their submissions.

[7] 10 February 1997

INQUIRY INTO FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, Mrs Fran Bailey MP (McEwen, VIC), today announced the continuation of public hearings relating to the Committee's inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries.

The inquiry follows the presentation to Parliament of Audit Report No 32 1995-96 Commonwealth Fisheries Management - Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The report, which examined the efficiency and effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management by AFMA, was referred to the Committee for inquiry.

Mrs Bailey emphasised that the Committee has not drawn any conclusions at this stage from the findings and recommendations contained in the Auditor-General's report. However, she said that the report raises a number of serious issues which the Committee will be exploring during the course of its inquiry.

A public hearing will be held in Committee Room 1R2, Parliament House, Canberra on Wednesday 12 February 1997 from 10.15am - 11.00am. The only witness scheduled to appear is the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

Mrs Bailey said that the Committee has received a number of submissions to its inquiry from interested individuals and organisations and that the public hearings will be an opportunity for the witnesses to elaborate on the matters raised in their submissions.

[8] 12 Februrary 1997

INQUIRY INTO FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, Mrs Fran Bailey MP (McEwen, VIC), today announced the continuation of public hearings relating to the Committee's inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries.

The inquiry follows the presentation to Parliament of Audit Report No 32 1995-96 Commonwealth Fisheries Management - Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The report, which examined the efficiency and effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management by AFMA, was referred to the Committee for inquiry.

Mrs Bailey emphasised that the Committee has not drawn any conclusions at this stage from the findings and recommendations contained in the Auditor-General's report. However, she said that the report raises a number of serious issues which the Committee will be exploring during the course of its inquiry.

A public hearing will be held in the Lonsdale and Bourke Rooms of the Melbourne Airport Travelodge, Melbourne on Friday 14 February 1997 from 9.30am - 3.30pm. The program will include representatives of the Victorian Government and industry participants based in Geelong, Melbourne, Lakes Entrance, Portland and Eden. The program is on the reverse page.

Mrs Bailey said that the Committee has received a number of submissions to its inquiry from interested individuals and organisations and that the public hearings will be an opportunity for the witnesses to elaborate on the matters raised in their submissions.

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INQUIRY INTO THE MANAGEMENT OF COMMONWEALTH FISHERIES

PUBLIC HEARING PROGRAM

FRIDAY 14 FEBRUARY 1997

Venue: Lonsdale & Bourke Rooms, Travelodge, Melbourne Airport

9.30am - 10.15am Victorian Government

John Johnstone, Acting Director of Fisheries, Department of Natural Resources and Environment

10.15am - 11.00am Victorian Fishing Industry Federation

Karen Clifton, Executive Officer

11.00am - 11.15am Morning tea break

11.15am - 12.00noon Bannister Quest Pty Ltd

Saxon Nicholls, Director

12.00pm - 12.45pm Jack Miriklis Marine Pty Ltd

Michael Miriklis, Managing Director

12.45pm - 1.30pm Lunch break

1.30pm - 2.00pm Lakes Entrance Fishermen's Cooperative Society

Tom Davies, General Manager

2.00pm - 2.30pm Small Fishing Boat Operators Association

Brian Bolding and John Barrett

2.30pm - 3.00pm Sutherland Enterprise Fisheries, Portland

Nanette Sutherland

3.00pm - 3.30pm Ironnet Pty Ltd, Eden, NSW

Neil Kelly and Steve Buckless

[9] 4 March 1997

INQUIRY INTO FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, Mrs Fran Bailey MP (McEwen, VIC), today announced the continuation of public hearings relating to the Committee's inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries.

The inquiry follows the presentation to Parliament of Audit Report No 32 1995-96 Commonwealth Fisheries Management - Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The report, which examined the efficiency and effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management by AFMA, was referred to the Committee for inquiry.

Mrs Bailey emphasised that the Committee has not drawn any conclusions at this stage from the findings and recommendations contained in the Auditor-General's report. However, she said that the report raises a number of serious issues which the Committee will be exploring during the course of its inquiry.

A public hearing will be held in Committee Room 1R2, Parliament House, Canberra on Wednesday 5 March 1997 from 10.15am - 11.00am. The only witness scheduled to appear is the Department of Environment Sport and Territories. The program is on the reverse page.

Mrs Bailey said that the Committee has received a number of submissions to its inquiry from interested individuals and organisations and that the public hearings will be an opportunity for the witnesses to elaborate on the matters raised in their submissions.

[10] 24 March 1997

INQUIRY INTO FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, Mrs Fran Bailey MP (McEwen, VIC), today announced the continuation of public hearings relating to the Committee's inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries.

The inquiry follows the presentation to Parliament of Audit Report No 32 1995-96 Commonwealth Fisheries Management - Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The report, which examined the efficiency and effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management by AFMA, was referred to the Committee for inquiry.

Mrs Bailey emphasised that the Committee has not drawn any conclusions at this stage from the findings and recommendations contained in the Auditor-General's report. However, she said that the report raises a number of serious issues which the Committee will be exploring during the course of its inquiry.

A public hearing will be held in Committee Room 1R2, Parliament House, Canberra on Wednesday 26 March 1997 from 10.00am - 10.40am. The only witness scheduled to appear is Mr Murray France who will be representing Kailis and France Foods as well as the Northern Prawn Fishery Industry Organisations.

Mrs Bailey said that the Committee has received a number of submissions to its inquiry from interested individuals and organisations and that the public hearings will be an opportunity for the witnesses to elaborate on the matters raised in their submissions.

[11] 2 April 1997

COMMITTEE PROBING COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL FISHING CONFLICTS

Conflicts between Queensland's big game fishing industry and the tuna fishing industry will be among the issues examined by a House of Representatives Committee that is inquiring into the performance of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. The Committee will be holding a public hearing in Brisbane on Monday 7 April 1997.

The Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, chaired by Mrs Fran Bailey MP, is examining questions raised by the Commonwealth Auditor-General in a report on the Authority's management of commonwealth fisheries. It will be considering submissions from several groups associated with the game fishing industry as well as from commercial fishers working in the east coast bluefin tuna fishery.

The Committee will also hear from the Queensland Government, the Island Coordinating Council from Thursday Island and the Northern Land Council.

The Hearing will commence at 9.00am in the Conference Room of the Parliamentary Annexe of the Queensland Parliament House.

A program for the hearing is attached.

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PUBLIC HEARING PROGRAM

MONDAY 7 APRIL 1997

Venue: Conference Room, Parliamentary Annexe (behind Parliament House), Alice Street, Brisbane

9.00am - 9.45am Queensland Government

9.45am - 10.30am Game Fishing Association of Australia

10.30am - 10.45am Morning tea break

10.45am - 11.15am Cairns Professional Game Fishing Association

11.15am - 11.45am Queensland Game Fishing Association/Queensland Charter Vessels Association

11.45am - 12.15pm P and M Williams Enterprises Pty Ltd

12.15pm - 12.45pm Fortuna Fishing Pty Ltd

12.45pm - 1.45pm Lunch break

1.45pm - 2.15pm Australian Fishing Tackle Association

2.15pm - 3.00pm Australian Institute of Marine Science

3.00pm - 3.15pm Afternoon tea break

3.15pm - 3.45pm Island Coordinating Council (Thursday Is)

3.45pm - 4.15pm Northern Land Council

[12] 7 April 1997

COMMITTEE TO TAKE FINAL EVIDENCE FROM FISHERY MANAGERS AND THEIR CRITICS

An inquiry into issues raised by the Auditor-General in a report on the performance of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority is nearing completion with a final public hearing in Canberra on Tuesday 8 April.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs, chaired by Mrs Fran Bailey MP, will hear submissions from the Auditor-General's office and the Authority. This follows an extensive round of consultations with governments, industry bodies, individual fishers and the community.

The Committee is examining questions raised by the Commonwealth Auditor-General in a report on the Authority's management of commonwealth fisheries.

The hearing will commence at 9.00am in Committee Room 1R1 in Parliament House. The program for the hearing is:

9.00am Australian Fisheries Management Authority

10.45am Australian National Audit Office

[13] 20 June 1997

REPORT ON THE MANAGEMENT OF COMMONWEALTH FISHERIES

PRESS CONFERENCE, 23 JUNE AT 12.45PM IN COMMITTEE ROOM 1R4

On 23 June the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs will table the report on its inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries. At 12.45pm, after the tabling of the report, the Chair, Mrs Fran Bailey, MP, will hold a press conference in Committee Room 1R4.

The Committee's inquiry arose out of a performance audit by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) into the efficiency and administrative effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management. The ANAO raised serious concerns about the performance of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), the agency with principal responsibility for the management of Commonwealth fisheries.

Overall the ANAO concluded that AFMA could not be certain it was satisfactorily meeting any of its legislative objectives. The Committee comprehensively examined the ANAO recommendations during its inquiry.

The Committee also took the opportunity to consider and make recommendations on broader issues such as recreational and game fishing, surveillance and monitoring, research, the sustainability of fisheries resources and traditional fishing activities in Commonwealth waters. The Committee makes 44 recommendations in its report.

For further information, contact:

Mrs Fran Bailey, MP, Chair, RG 53, Parliament House, (06) 277 4280

Mr Ian Dundas, Committee Secretary, R1 110, Parliament House, (06) 277 4500

[14] 25 June 1997

REPORT CALLS FOR GREATER CERTAINTY IN FISHING INDUSTRY

A national inquiry into the management of Commonwealth fisheries has urged the Federal Government to take immediate steps to reduce uncertainty for the fishing industry and for fishing managers.

In its final report titled "Managing Commonwealth Fisheries: The Last Frontier" tabled in Federal Parliament today, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries, Resources and Rural and Regional Affairs has made 44 recommendations designed to provide firm future direction for Australia's valuable fishing industry.

The inquiry followed the referral to the Committee of a report by the Australian National Audit Office on the efficiency and administrative effectiveness of Commonwealth fishers management.

Committee Chair, Mrs Fran Bailey said bycatch (the catch of non-target species) and dumping were very serious environmental problems in fisheries and one of the greatest threats to the sustainability of fish stocks.

She said the Committee had recommended that the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) trial the use of cluster quotas in a fishery to help overcome bycatch problems and develop surrender provisions for each Commonwealth fishery to discourage fishers from bycatch dumping.

"Sustainable development of fisheries resources is fundamental to the ongoing viability of the commercial fishing industry," Mrs Bailey said.

"Although it is illegal to dump fish at sea in Commonwealth fisheries, the practice is widespread and therefore there needs to be incentives for commercial fishers to land and record bycatch as part of the total catch in those situations where they would otherwise be risking prosecution.

"While surrender provisions will not eliminate all forms of dumping, it will help to reduce the disturbing images of great quantities of fish simply being wasted."

Mrs Bailey said the Committee had also recognised the importance of recreational and game fishing and had made a number of recommendations designed to protect key stocks for recreational users.

She said it was estimated that more than 4.5 million Australians participated in fishing as a sport or leisure activity every year, which placed significant pressure on fish resources.

"The Committee believes that the Commonwealth fisheries legislation should provide AFMA with greater powers to manage the activities of the recreational sector in Commonwealth waters where this is necessary," Mrs Bailey said.

"We have also recommended a mandatory ban on the catching of blue and black marlin by commercial fishers, with a tag and release program introduced for recreational fishers to enable them to land blue and black marlin for weigh-in purposes only.

"In order to protect stocks of a blue and black marlin and the viability of game fishing and charter boat groups, the Committee has recommended the AFMA not reissue permits for "Area E" off the east cost of Queensland to commercial longline fishers."

Mrs Bailey said the Committee was critical of the conduct of the Audit Office's performance audit and its report, particularly that it did not seem to understand the dynamics of environmental fisheries management and had not ensured that its recommendations were cost effective.

"The management of Commonwealth fisheries is a daunting challenge for fisheries managers because of the dynamic and complex nature of the marine environment," she said.

"The aim of the Committee in making its recommendations has been to ensure that the interests of all participants are fairly represented and that the resource on which they depend is effectively managed and protected for future generations."

Enquiries: Committee Chair, Fran Bailey (02) 6277 4280 or
Committee Secretary, Ian Dundas (02) 6277 4500

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