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Australian Marine Conservation Society welcomes Federal Government intervention into protecting Great Barrier Reef wildlife

Australian Marine Conservation Society welcomes Federal Government intervention into protecting Great Barrier Reef wildlife
September 8, 2020

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s actions to protect the Great Barrier Reef and Reef wildlife from unsustainable fishing.

The AMCS highlights that the Queensland Government's failure to protect the Great Barrier Reef from unsustainable fishing forced strong action from Minister Ley.

Minister Ley has revoked the export permit of the Queensland Government-managed East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery (ECIFFF) under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

This is because the Queensland government has failed to meet sustainability conditions for the ECIFFF agreed upon by both governments two years ago.

It means commercial fishers operating in the fishery will not be able to export seafood internationally, but does not affect domestic trade. Exports include shark fin from sharks caught within the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, black jewfish bladders exported for use in the cosmetics industry, and mullet roe.

The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), on behalf of AMCS, wrote to Minister Ley alleging the Queensland Government had failed to meet Condition 9 of the Declaration of an Approved Wildlife Trade Operation - Queensland ECIFFF, in December 2018. The Queensland Government then failed to address these concerns after being notified of this failure.

Poor practices in the ECIFFF have led to the deaths of thousands of endangered sharks, sawfish, dugongs, dolphins and turtles on the Great Barrier Reef.

Campaign Manager Tooni Mahto notes “Appalling unsustainable practices including the dumping of thousands of endangered hammerhead sharks, illegal shark finning and the bycatch of dugongs and snubfin dolphins in gillnets have been exposed within this fishery, which operates within the supposed sanctuary of the Great Barrier Reef.

“This extraordinary area should be where we find the best fishing practices in the world, practices which work to protect ocean wildlife and sustain the thousands of people across industries like tourism, who depend on our Reef for their livelihoods. Instead, the failure of the Palaszczuk Government to meet environmental conditions such as improved monitoring fails the Reef, the commercial fishing industry and the Queensland community.

“Minister Ley was left with little choice but to step in and revoke the export accreditation, and we fully support her actions.”

Mahto said she hoped the move would encourage the Queensland government to meet the conditions and added “we would hope the Premier and Minister Furner will do what they can to ensure compliance so commercial fishers can regain their export licences and begin trading again before they lose those markets. They can only do this if the sustainability of the fishery is improved.

“The Palaszczuk government only have themselves to blame for this issue. They have had plenty of time to comply with the conditions and nearly two terms of government to address community expectations for sustainable fishing in the Great Barrier Reef.”

Image: Disturbing imagery obtained by WWF-Australia shows the destructive impact of commercial gill nets in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.


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23rd April 2019 - Australian Marine Conservation Society welcomes Labor promise to reclaim Great Barrier Reef funding

17th April 2019 - Great Barrier Reef Tourism Operators call for Urgent Action from Australia’s politicians

17th March 2019 - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chief Executive appointment receives mixed reaction

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12th December 2018 - Australian Marine Conservation Society demands Adani court admission of Great Barrier Reef pollution

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8th June 2018 - Coral bleaching leads to fall in domestic tourism to Great Barrier Reef

18th April 2018 - Massive extinction of Great Barrier Reef coral during 2016 marine heatwave

29th January 2018 - Far North Queensland tourism operators back Great Barrier Reef plastic straws ban

22nd January 2018 - Federal Government to fund $60 million Great Barrier Reef rescue package

26th June 2017 - Great Barrier Reef delivers $56 billion value for Australia

4th June 2017 - UN report shows challenges in protecting the Great Barrier Reef

25th March 2017 - Report suggests Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching could deter one million visitors

8th October 2016 - Visits to the Great Barrier Reef an example of ‘last chance tourism’

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