Sydney, 15th August 2006
Support endangered species protection for eastern gemfish
The NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee has announced a proposed recommendation to list eastern gemfish (Rexea solandri) as endangered under the NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994. Eastern gemfish has been subjected to heavy commercial fishing pressure since the 1970's, which has caused its population to fall to dangerously low levels. HSI first nominated eastern gemfish for protection in NSW in 1999, and in the intervening years the species has declined even further - the most recent assessment found that there is 1 - 4% of the prefished spawning biomass left. Despite this, an annual “bycatch” quota of around 100t is allowed.
An endangered listing on the NSW FMA will prevent all commercial catch and sale of the species throughout the state and require the development of a Recovery Plan. It is an essential step in the conservation of the species, and one that will hopefully encourage the Federal Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell to finally decide to list the species under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC). A nomination is with the Commonwealth already, and a recommendation is due to be made to Minister Ian Campbell in August from his own scientific committee.
The NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee will advertise the proposed recommendation for public consultation until 22nd September after which it will make a Final Recommendation to the NSW Fisheries Minister, Ian McDonald. The proposed recommendation can be read at:
Copy your letter to:
Dr. Patricia Dixon, Chairperson, Fisheries Scientific Committee, Port Stephens Fisheries Centre, Locked Bag 1, Nelson Bay NSW 2315.
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