The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), Australia's leading marine conservation group, today welcomed the announcement by SA Premier Mike Rann to close the SA Pilchard Fishery.
Craig Bohm, National Fisheries Campaigner with AMCS, said, "Premier Rann made the right decision by closing the SA Pilchard Fishery. Dolphins are a protected species. They are vulnerable to fishing impacts and Australians expect them to be protected. One death is too many."
While welcoming SA Fisheries Director Will Zacharin's promise that a Code of Conduct for the pilchard fishery is being developed, AMCS wants guarantees that the killing will be stopped.
Bohm continued, "The Code of Conduct will need to be tough and mandatory for all fishing vessels. It will need to ensure that dolphins are protected at all costs. The Code must be applied by all fishing vessels in the fishery and dolphin interactions must be closely monitored by fully independent fishery observers on all vessels".
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is currently developing a similar plan of action to stop dolphin deaths occurring in the Australian Government-managed Small Pelagic Fishery. This fishery also operates in southern Australia and has been widely criticized for considering allowing the factory fishing trawler "The Veronica" into the fishery.
Bohm continued, "AMCS welcomes AFMA's efforts to develop a plan of action for dolphins but we remain deeply concerned that solutions to stop the deaths are yet to be found. We need solutions before we see a continuation of fishing - both in the Small Pelagic Fishery and in the SA Pilchard Fishery."
Bohm concluded, "While the pilchard fishery is touted as an economically valuable one, the cost of the dolphin deaths is so much higher. Dolphins are valuable to our ocean ecosystems; they have intimate social relationships, and they are important for our own wellbeing as community that cares about our oceans. AMCS hopes that fisheries managers get this one right."
Craig Bohm at AMCS on (07) 3393 5811 or mob - 0427 133 481