..as well as its environmental, social, cultural and economic interests within its own marine territorial waters and economic zones? Tough.
The media reports that the Dutch Government has raised concerns about Australia’s proposed new legislation strengthening the precautionary principle in relation to fishing activities of super trawlers, in light of the planned fish take of Parleviet & Van der Plas B.V. and its freezer trawler RV Able Tasman.
I also read that the Canberra-based Dutch Deputy Head of Mission, Nico Schermers, has expressed these concerns at a recent meeting of senior diplomats at the delegation of the European Union to Australia.
It would be interesting to know just how he couched his complaints at this meeting, when sudden changes in the structure and function of marine ecosystems and fish stock collapse due to overfishing are a feature of certain marine areas where Parleviet & Van der Plas (among others) has traditionally fished since the 1960s and, the European Union is well aware of this problem as seen by the first link below.
European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, POLICY DEPARTMENT B, STRUCTURAL AND COHESION POLICIES: Fisheries, November 2011:
Overfishing has been shown to seriously affect the ecosystems of the world oceans. In addition to direct fishing effects on target stocks, ecosystem effects are increasingly reported as a result of unsustainable exploitation levels. There is now compelling evidence that fishing-induced changes at the top of the food web can have profound indirect effects on all trophic levels and hence change the structure and functioning of the whole food web. Such trophic cascades involve a top-down (i.e. consumer) control view on ecosystem functioning, which opposes the traditional bottom-up (resource) control view that existed
for marine ecosystems……
prominent examples of ecosystem regime shifts in the North Pacific and
the Eastern Scotian Shelf off the East coast of Canada, as well as the North Sea, the Baltic and the Black Sea...
The world is also aware of the dangers of regional overfishing.
In the late 1980s, global catches ceased to increase and peaked at 90 million t when account is taken of systematic over reporting of catches by China . The slow decrease of about half million t per year which then ensued has not been reversed since , and is not likely to ever be .
This decrease occurred, essentially, because the rate at which new fish stocks (for example of deep sea fish; ) were accessed, from the late 1980s on, failed to compensate for the rate at which ‘traditional’ stocks were depleted. Moreover, the number of new stocks has been decreasing linearly over time .
European Parliament, Committee on Fisheries Meeting 6 September 2012 - video in which Northern Hemisphere fisheries management and overfishing is discussed.
September 15 2012
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has been advised by the Commonwealth Ombudsman that AFMA did in fact fail to comply with the Fisheries Administration Act when it set the quota relevant to the super trawler.
Over the last two months Mr Wilkie has lodged a number of complaints with the Ombudsman regarding AFMA’s conduct when setting the quota. She agreed to investigate and this became central to Environment Minister Tony Burke’s condemnation of AFMA and Independent Rob Oakeshott’s decision to support banning the vessel.
“This is a dramatic development and a thumping win for proper process and the rule of law,” Mr Wilkie said.
“No less than the Commonwealth Ombudsman has agreed AFMA has acted unlawfully, and this should rule a line under the whole sorry super trawler saga and compel the Senate to kill the project forever next Monday.
‘‘Moreover the Ombudsman has informed me she is investigating ‘other matters’ which adds to the case that AFMA is in serious need of reform, that the Government’s decision to stop the boat is entirely warranted and that the House of Representative’s passing of legislation was the right thing to do. It’s up to the Senate now to finish the job.
“Super trawlers stink, but even worse is government agencies thinking they’re above the law. Hopefully this will lead to changes which might give us much more confidence in future that our environment as well as recreational and sensible commercial fishing is protected.’‘