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Greens back deferral of decision on bottom-trawling off WA

Greens Senator for WA Rachel Siewert has welcomed signs that the Rudd Government may extend a closure to bottom trawling off the Kimberley and put off its a decision on Commonwealth trawl fishery boundaries off Western Australia.

"By deferring the decision on Commonwealth trawl fishery boundaries for another year, the Federal Fisheries Minister would create an opportunity for a more informed process that would take into account likely impacts on the marine ecosystem and local fisheries," Senator Siewert said.

"Bottom-trawling indiscriminately sweeps up whatever is in front of the nets.

"If the proposed boundary changes to Australian Fisheries Management Authority-controlled trawl fisheries went ahead, more than 10,000sq km of ocean floor off WA would be opened up to clear-felling of the deep, including a 6,000sq km area containing coral shoals and sponge gardens off the Kimberley.

"It appears that the Federal Government may have heeded the message from the community and the Greens," Senator Siewert said.

"I now urge the Government to complete its marine planning process for Federal waters off northern WA before making any further boundary changes to Commonwealth-managed fisheries."


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