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Colbeck must close fishery until confidence in quota management restored

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 13 Jun 2015

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Australian Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, has today called on Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries, Senator Richard Colbeck, to immediately close the Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF) and investigate serious insider allegations of pecuniary conflict within AFMA's key research and scientific committee.

"Yesterday it was revealed under freedom of information that Macquarie University's Dr Kirsten Davies, an expert in environmental sustainability, resigned as chairwoman of AFMA's SPF resource assessment group after her concerns over a 'perpetual state of pecuniary conflict' were ignored by the same government regulator she served," said Senator Whish-Wilson.

"Senator Colbeck has spent his entire tenure as Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries disregarding concerns about the influence of foreign corporations and the impact of their massive factory freezer trawlers on Australia's SPF.

"After the outrageous management failure which saw dolphins killed not once but twice by the FV Geelong Star, these latest revelations, only exposed thanks to FOI, comprehensively discredit Senator Colbeck and his long standing rhetoric about science, sustainability, and sound quota management.

"Today Australians will have absolutely run out of patience with the Government backing the overseas owners of these giant factory freezer trawlers that have been used to wipe out fisheries across the globe.

"In markets, reputation is everything and it's beyond baffling why a Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries is putting Australia's sustainable fishing practices at risk with one failure after another.

"If Senator Colbeck won't immediately act to close the SPF, conduct an investigation and remove undue industry influence then he will further shatter public confidence in fisheries management in Australia," he concluded.

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