HSI welcomes strong action to protect Great Barrier Reef wildlife from unsustainable fishing

By : Humane Society International September 9, 2020

Humane Society International (HSI) has welcomed an announcement by Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley to revoke an export permit for a Queensland fishery due to unsustainable fishing in the Great Barrier Reef.

Minister Ley has revoked the permit of the Queensland Government-managed East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery (ECIFFF) under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. The Palaszczuk government has failed to meet conditions to improve the ecological sustainability of the fishery agreed upon by both governments two years ago.

It means commercial fishers operating in the fishery will not be able to export products from the fishery which operates on the east coast of Queensland including within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Exports include shark fin from endangered hammerhead species and black jewfish bladders exported for traditional Chinese use.

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. 

The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), on behalf of HSI and partner organisation Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), wrote to Minister Ley alleging the QLD Government had failed to meet Condition 9 of the Declaration of an Approved Wildlife Trade Operation - Queensland East Coast inshore Fin Fish Fishery, December 2018. The Queensland Government failed to address these concerns.

"Minister Sussan Ley has made the right decision. An Australian fishery cannot be allowed to continue operating at such a poor standard, particularly when it is happening in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The fishery fails to have basic management measures for oversight of the catch. A catch which includes the dumping of thousands of endangered hammerhead sharks, and the bycatch of dugongs and snubfin dolphins in indiscriminate gillnets,” said Nicola Beynon, HSI Head of Campaigns.

"This is a very welcome example of the Federal Environment Minister using the powers in the EPBC Act as they were intended to ensure a state government meets the criteria set for environmentally sustainable fisheries in Australia.”

"The Palaszczuk government only have themselves to blame for this issue. They have had plenty of time to comply with the conditions - well before the COVID restrictions came in.”

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About HSI Australia

HSI concentrates on the preservation of endangered animals and ecosystems and works to ensure quality of life for all animals, both domestic and wild. HSI is the largest animal protection not-for-profit organisation in the world and has been established in Australia since 1994