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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

18 May 2006

Minister considers listing Orange Roughy as endangered


A recommendation to list a commercially-targeted fish as an endangered species will be made available to the public, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage Senator Ian Campbell said today.

Expert advice from the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee has recommended that the Orange Roughy is eligible to be listed as endangered under federal environment law. Further analysis by the Department of Environment and Heritage supports the conclusion that the species in Australia has undergone an unplanned and severe decline in numbers.

Orange Roughy is a commercially-targeted marine fish, primarily caught in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery off the south-east coast of the mainland and around Tasmania. It is a slow maturing species that can live up to 150 years.

“This is the first time a commercially-targeted species has been unambiguously recommended for protection under federal law,” said Senator Campbell.

“Even though there has already been a three month public comment period for this nomination, I have decided to release the advice for a period of four weeks for the public to consider.

“The Minister for Fisheries, Senator Eric Abetz, agrees that this additional comment period reflects the significance of the recommendation, and the fact that there will be a great deal of community and sectoral interest in it.

“In preparing its expert advice to me, the Threatened Species Scientific Committee has considered an extensive range of scientific research and studies and has widely consulted with a range of industry and scientific sources. My Department has undertaken further analysis of the reduction in biomass and whether, as a managed commercial species, the reduction is within planned ecologically sustainable limits or outside those management limits, thus placing the species at risk of extinction.

“My final decision must be based on the science of the species and its survival. I welcome any relevant input on the scientific advice which I will consider, together with the Committee’s advice, before making my decision.

The Committee’s advice together with the Department’s analysis is at www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/index.html

Media contact:
Marianne McCabe 02 6277 7640

Commonwealth of Australia