Thank you to Environs Kimberley for allowing us to share this with you.
August 11, 2011
GOVERNMENT GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO CORAL REEF DESTRUCTION IN THE KIMBERLEY
Fishing and conservation groups unite
Fishing and Conservation groups have united to express alarm over Federal government plans to allow trawling of an area the size of greater Perth in the pristine Kimberley next month.
Dr Jill St John, Marine Co-ordinator for The Wilderness Society (WA) said the shallow area up to 30m in depth is dotted with coral reefs, as beautiful and significant as those found on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as sponges and seagrass areas.
“Trawling will destroy these pristine areas along with its marine life.
“The Australian Fishery Management Authority’s proposal to allow trawling in the area has upset local fishers as trawling in this area will destroy the local trap and line fishery.
Bob Masters, Broome representative of the local trap and line fishery (Northern Demersal Scale Fishery (NDSF)) says “This 6000 sq km area was never meant to be part of the deep water prawn trawl fishery (North West Slope Trawl Fishery) that trawls offshore areas deeper than 200m.
“The Authority’s own management plan states that no trawling should be done in shallow areas (less than 200m in depth).
”We fish for tropical snappers in this area and our fishery has strict effort quota restrictions to ensure stock sustainability.
“Trawlers have not been allowed into the area since the Taiwanese trawlers were stopped in the 1970s and since then the seabed habitats have regrown and the fish communities have been replenished.”
Grant Barker, of NDSF and based in Darwin, said, “We provide high quality fish for the Australian market and, unlike trawling, don”t destroy their habitat – seafloor communities.”
Dr Jill St John adds, “Trawling destroys coral reefs and sponge gardens that may be hundreds of years old. Trawling also kills high-risk and protected species, such as sea snakes and sharks, as bycatch”.
Martin Pritchard, Director of Environs Kimberley says “This area is currently being considered for the National Marine Reserve Network and trawling is one of three fishing gear types disallowed in the reserve network.”
“Why will this area be opened to trawling before the marine reserve network is finalized?” he asked.
Bob Masters, Broome 0408 923 454
Grant Barker, Darwin 0428 797 490
Dr Jill StJohn, Perth 0423 225 564
Examples of bottom trawling