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Commonwealth Minister for Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
19 December 2003
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced the commercial kangaroo harvest quota for 2004 is 4.4 million kangaroos. The 2004 state quotas are for 1,388,411 kangaroos in New South Wales; 2,289,181 in Queensland; 361,300 in South Australia; and 362,000 in Western Australia.
"This year, the sustainable quota has been set at 4.4 million and is 33 per cent lower, or 2.1 million animals less than last year. The quota is scientifically determined and represents the upper harvest limit. It is independent of industry demand and in practice the number of kangaroos actually taken is much less than this full amount - usually about half the full quota," Dr Kemp said.
"The harvest quota is based on proposals submitted by each State, as well as kangaroo population numbers, trends in harvest levels and the known impact of the drought to date. Quotas are set as a proportion of the population and any decline in numbers due to the drought has been taken into account.
"I am confident that the commercial kangaroo harvest quotas for 2004 are sustainable and will not jeopardise the ongoing health of Australia's kangaroo populations.
"Kangaroos, with their soft feet, have evolved as part of the Australian ecosystem and consequently the development of a commercial industry based on widespread and abundant species of kangaroos is an ecologically friendly and sustainable industry.
"Only four of Australia's 55 kangaroo species are currently harvested commercially - the Red kangaroo, Eastern grey kangaroo, Western grey kangaroo and Common wallaroo. These species are abundant and the 2004 harvesting quota represents only 16 per cent of their total populations."
Dr Kemp said kangaroos are unique species which have adapted well to Australia's extreme fluctuations in climatic conditions.
"Kangaroo populations have shown a strong capacity to recover quickly following drought. There has been no adverse impact on the kangaroo population after over 20 years of commercial harvesting, including during the extreme drought of 1981-1983.
"All commercial kangaroo harvesting activities are undertaken in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos.
"Today's quota allows for meat for human consumption and skins for leather products, which are used domestically or exported to more than 25 countries."
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999, the export of kangaroo products can only be permitted if the animals are harvested in accordance with a state wildlife trade management plan approved under the Act. Harvesting for non-commercial purposes, such as farmers controlling kangaroo populations on their land, requires approval from the relevant State or Territory."
Further information on kangaroo harvesting is available on the web site at: www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/publications/kangaroo/humane-culling.html