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Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
1 December 2004
The Australian Government will be proactive in managing international stocks of Southern Bluefin Tuna, Senator Ian Campbell, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, said today as he declared the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery an approved wildlife trade operation.
The declaration follows an extensive public assessment by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, which recommended a number of measures to ensure appropriate management of the fishery.
"In declaring this fishery an approved wildlife trade operation, I also propose to accredit the updated management plan that strictly regulates activities associated with the fishing of Southern Bluefin Tuna and which will be administered by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)," Senator Campbell said.
Internationally, Senator Campbell reaffirmed that Australia will pursue sustainable fishing of the species through the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna — an international body dedicated to managing the global harvest of the species.
"The tuna is a highly migratory species with a single population that migrates large distances through the world's oceans, making it vulnerable to over-fishing by the international community," he said.
"There is no doubt that the global population of this fish is seriously depleted but the most effective, and possibly the only, way for Australia to help conserve it is to retain our voice in the international community where we can advocate its sustainable fishing and management.
"The Australian Government has already achieved success in the commission, which has now set a 'total allowable catch' and agreed national allocations for the international harvesting of the species.
"We intend to remain a part of the solution — our next goal is to work within the commission to rebuild its international population."
"The declaration means the fishery may export the tuna for the next three years, while it continues to operate under the management plan accredited by me.
"The management plan administered and monitored by AFMA ensures that the fishery will be well-managed. It includes a 'bycatch action plan' specific for the purse seine fishery, data collection systems, an observer programme and catch-monitoring programme, and increased accountability for holders of statutory fishing rights."