Marine parks effectively prevent trawling

13 Nov 2017
South East Marine Reserve network

The South East Marine Reserve network has 14 marine parks all closed to trawling

Marine parks to protect fish and their environment from trawler activity should be welcomed by all Australians.

South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA) made the declaration following the Australian Government’s marine park plan proposal, which is designed to protect more than 3m km of water or 41% of Australia’s waters.

SETFIA pointed out that South East Trawl Fishery is located around the South East Marine Reserve network, which has 14 marine parks all closed to trawling and which cover 388,000km2 of the south east.

Damage limitation

It stated that “like fisheries closures (which are much larger) these marine parks protect the seafloor from potentially damaging fishing methods like trawling” but added “marine parks are not a fisheries management tool.”

The trawl fishery is managed by data collected by surveys, from logbooks and from observers that feed into stock assessments from which quotas are set, said SETFIA.

The trawl fishing industry invests 8% of its revenue each year into ecological risk assessments and the quota asset of trawl fishermen only has value if there is a healthy fishery behind it, emphasised SETFIA.

Dependence warning

Marine parks are about to be rolled out in the rest of Australia and expert panels have made recommendations to the Government by considering the risks that different fishing gears present and ecological features that may be at risk.

“It is important that Australia does not move the challenge of harvesting wild caught fish offshore by increasing Australia’s already heavy dependence on imported seafood,” added SETFIA.

“Doing so would be irresponsible and not assist the global food challenge.  The parks proposed by the Government strike the right balance of protecting seafloor habitat while allowing the Australian community to enjoy local, well managed, fresh seafood.”