Monday, March 5, 2012

"Barrage of anti-fishing rhetoric"

Switch to pork products?
How do you change fisheries status quo while at the same time remaining a relevant voice?

This latest news article had us wondering:

Anti fishing campaigners accused of misleading Australians on state of fisheries

Dr Ray Hilborn - who is Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington - said the "relentless" anti-fishing campaign by various NGOs had led to government imposed restrictions on fishing that had resulted in making Australians more reliant on imported seafood from overseas markets that may not have such stringent regulations on fisheries management.

Dr Hilborn, a vocal opponent of the "barrage of anti-fishing rhetoric", is in Australia as a guest of the Sydney Fish Market and has been meeting senior federal politicians to put his case on the issue of marine national parks specifically the Government's proposal for a one million square kilometre marine park in the Coral Sea.

He has used the visit to release a paper titled "Australian seafood consumers misled by prophets of doom and gloom".

Speaking to a gathering of chefs and the media at the Sydney Seafood School this week Dr Hilborn questioned the motives of NGOs in "perpetuating myths" about the sustainability of Australian fisheries, and said they were out of touch with recent global developments and "in denial of the fisheries management outcomes in Australia.

He said Australian fisheries today were amongst the best managed in the world.
"Australia is subject to a relentless anti-fishing campaign that is causing doom and gloom myths from misrepresentations of overseas examples of inadequate fisheries management," he said.

"Australia did not always have its current enviable record in fisheries management, but addressed the generic over fishing problem forcefully. Destructive fishing practices and continued overfishing are no longer significant problems. The great majority of fish stocks are in very good shape and. even more importantly for long-term sustainability, continues to improve.

"Australians have excellent reasons to consume Australian seafood with confidence and enthusiasm."

Asked for his advice for foodservice operators who want to ensure they are choosing sustainable seafood for their menus, Dr Hilborn said they should look to Australian fisheries.

"Buy Australian seafood," he told Hospitality. "You can be pretty confident then that the seafood you are buying has come from a properly managed fishery."

He said while he was a firm supporter of bodies like the Marine Stewardship Council which markets its certification logo as a true sign that a fishery is sustainable he did not see it as a practical.

"It's a great thing but it's expensive for a fishery to get. Just because a fishery has gone through and spent the hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the certification doesn't mean they're not a sustainable fishery."