I WRITE to express my view on the reporting of the bluefin anglers fear change issue (The Standard, July 21 and 28).
In the issue of July 21 Mr McClelland of WE FISH is reported to have said “the Gillard government had a track record of unjustified fishing lockouts”.
I see no factual evidence of this, and certainly in this region the recently announced federal government fish and other species protection zone reserves have been established so far offshore that they have no impact whatsoever on recreational angling.
The decision by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AMFA) for the possible entry of the super trawler FV Margiris to take fish in offshore Australian waters is said by AMFA to be based on advice from Australia’s and the world’s best scientists in setting sustainable catch limits.
If WE FISH feels that it has a soundly grounded case to present for such access to be reviewed or denied, then it should do so by strongly lobbying both AMFA and the federal minister responsible for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
As a fellow long-time recreational angler I would not be keen on recreational anglers being stopped or further restricted from catching southern bluefin tuna, unless such a government decision was based on very, very sound scientific evidence.
However, I do find it absurd that the Liberal minister for the Victorian state government, Mr Peter Walsh, is seeking an assurance from the federal government that recreational anglers be guaranteed long-term access to tuna fishing.
I would not expect a responsible federal government of either persuasion to give an iron-clad guarantee on long-term policy dealing with southern bluefin tuna.
Scientific research and evidence on available tuna stocks may be totally different today to in whatever number of years hence, and policy should then be guided and decided accordingly.
Russ Allardice, Albert Road, Port Fairy