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Fisheries News.

Sunday, November 30th 2003 - 20:00 UTC
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Poachers to pay for their own pursuit and arrest; Australia and France coordinate actions against toothfish poaching; South Africa allocates long-term fishing rights; Chile, one of the three fishing powers world wide; Peru launches satellite monitoring; Australia introduces long-term fisheries rights; Stricter controls on red tide in Chubut.

Poachers to pay for their own pursuit and arrest

Life is about to get even tougher for people caught fishing illegally in territorial waters here, after the Australian Government announced plans to make poachers pay the cost of pursuit. Fisheries minister, Senator Ian Macdonald, briefed coalition MPs and senators on the new plan, which includes massive increases in fines and compensation for the cost of pursuing illegal fishing vessels. "It will enable us to look more closely into some of their corporate structures, we'll be able to institute civil proceedings around the world to recover the monies and we hope that in this way we may put some of them out of business, and we'll send a very strong message to others that Australia simply will not tolerate illegal fishing in its waters," the senator told ABC News. The Senator wants to amend the law to allow authorities to seek compensation from those caught and successfully charged with illegal fishing for the cost of pursuit and the apprehension of foreign illegal fishing vessels, said a spokesperson for the coalition MPs. Such a move would recoup millions of dollars for the Government's coffers. Last August, for example, there was a well-publicized chase of the Uruguayan-registered boat, the Viarsa 1 . An Australian Customs boat chased the Viarsa 1 for nearly a month, and was eventually joined in the pursuit by two other patrol boats from South Africa and the UK. The chase cost the Government several million dollars. The amendment to the law would allow the authorities to recoup at least some of that cost. Fines for those caught fishing illegally will also be increased to AUD 825,000, from its present level of AUD 550,000, according to the Melbourne Herald Sun. (FIS/MP).-

Australia and France coordinate actions against toothfish poaching

Australia has agreed to work with French authorities in an attempt to crack down on illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean. Following negotiations between the two countries, both governments recently signed a treaty in Canberra to establish a framework for cooperation on surveillance and research in territorial seas and exclusive economic zones held by France and Australia in the Southern Ocean. Fisheries Minister, Senator Ian MacDonald, explained that the treaty will mean that both Australia and France will now have a complete understanding of each other's activities against illegal fishing in the Ocean, especially in areas that are particularly remote. It is the aim of both countries to protect their valuable marine resources against the ongoing illegal activities by a growing number of unscrupulous skippers, he said. France and Australia have agreed to work closely in combating this type of crime, and from now on, officials on both sides will exchange information on the location, movements, and licensing of fishing vessels, according to Radio Australia. The treaty was signed by Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and visiting French Deputy Foreign Minister, Renaud Muselier. Despite a previous row between the two countries over the war in Iraq, both ministers agreed that their respective countries had to look towards the future, and stressed common values and friendship. The Southern Ocean joins the Indian and Pacific Oceans, between Australia and Antarctica, and was delimited by the International Hydrographic Organisation in 2000 from the southern portions of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. It extends from the coast of Antarctica north to 60 degrees south latitude, and is now the fourth largest of the world's five oceans. Fisheries in this region landed 112,934 tonnes in 2000-01, of which 87% was krill and 11% Patagonian toothfish. It is estimated, however, that illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing lands five to six times more Patagonian toothfish than the regulated fishery. (FIS/MP).

South Africa allocates long-term fishing rights

Preparations for the allocation of long-term fishing rights are currently underway, says the South African Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister, Valli Moosa. The fishing rights are due to be allocated by the end of 2005, while the current four-year rights in 21 commercial fishing sectors will expire towards the end of 2004. The minister said that the allocation of medium term fishing rights had now reached the mid-term and it is now time to put benchmarks in place for the next long-term round of allocations. The SA Government has allocated 3,900 fishing rights in the 22 different commercial fishing sectors, which is a huge step up from the 400 fishing rights that were allocated along racial lines by the previous National Party government. The new dispersion of rights represents a vast redistribution of resources, yet this has taken place without any increase in the allowable catch limits, said the minister in a press statement. Some sectors such as abalone have experienced a significant decline in their limits, however, due to the effects of poaching. Over the past 10 years the Government has never ignored scientific advice on sustainable catch levels in favour of enormous social pressure to grant more fishing rights. Poor management of fish stocks would result in the total destruction of many fisheries, the minister believes, which would only exacerbate the situation for marginalized communities. "In contrast, South Africa can justly be proud of the fact that we have one of the best managed fisheries in the world," said Minister Moosa. Although the last round of allocations is considered a success, the minister would like to see a degree of improvement, and has called for a revision of the administrative systems and policies for the fisheries for the allocation process. Certain issues need closer examination if the situation is to be improved upon, he said, such as the duration of the next rights; improvements to the application form; legislative requirements and an improved consultative process. Most of the industry is either owned or managed by previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs), around 60 per cent, which means that the fishing industry is well ahead of other industrial sectors in the redistribution of resources. The minister is also proud of the fact that more than 70 per cent of all fishing rights holders are Small Medium Enterprises, thus achieving another key objective set by the Government. Minister Moosa said key outcomes of the current rights allocation was that, for example, in the Hake Longline sector, 40 per cent of all rights had been allocated to companies from the Eastern Cape, representing about ZAR 200 million earnings per annum for the province. And of the 2,023 limited commercial rights allocated to very small entities, new income of at least ZAR 200 million in earnings redounded to individuals in poor and disadvantaged communities who were excluded from rights and the establishments of small business entities in former years. South Africa is to begin a programme next year that will ensure that the country is prepared for the development of a wide range of marine organisms in captivity. "Whether referred to it as 'fishfarming' or 'aquaculture' or 'mariculture', conditions have to be created that will favour investment into this sector." The development of such a sector in the country, said Mr. Moosa, would not only reduce the pressure on the country's 'wild' marine resources but would create employment opportunities. (FIS/MP).-

Chile, one of the three fishing powers world wide

Chile has consolidated its position as the third largest fish producer worldwide, after China and Peru, or the second largest, if you take into consideration its efficient fishery destined for human consumption, industrial fishery and salmon farming sectors. This positive news was announced by the Commercial Director of the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation (IFFO), Jean Francois Mittane ? one of the most influential men in the industry on a global level ? during the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil seminar, organised by the National Fishing Association (Sonapesca). During the meeting, which brought together businessmen from the salmon industry, sector authorities and banking representatives, the executive praised Chile's fishing resource management policy. According to the French expert, Chile's inclusion of a fishing quota system to its Short Fishing Law, has served as an example to the rest of the world. This quota system has lead to the inclusion of new technology in the sector, and has consequently increased efficiency. Mittane believes that this has put Chile in a privileged position: "Chile's success clearly lies in its resource management, something which can have many repercussions abroad as it proves Chile's concern for good management." Thanks to the investments made in the sector, Chile has been able to increase the production of value added products, including different kinds of fish-meal. Chile is only overtaken by the high Chinese catch levels ? around 16 million tonnes ? and the highly developed, Chinese aquaculture industry, including algae production that reaches 55 million tonnes in production. Peru is in second place, with a production total of 8 ? 10 million tonnes per year, while Chilean production reaches 5 million tonnes. Peru however, has not developed such an efficient regulatory system as Chile, which will provide higher added value and stability over time. Another important factor is Chile's position within the salmon industry: Chile occupies second position as the largest world salmon producer, after Norway. Businessmen and authorities however, are aiming to take over first place as soon as possible. All fish oil, and 35 per cent of the fish-meal produced in the country go to the salmon farming industry, an industry whose waste has lead to the development of other industries, highlighted the general manager of Ewos Chile, Karl Samsing. Mittane's list of top producers does not take into consideration catch volumes managed by the FAO in 2001, in which China occupies first place, Peru second and the US third. Chile comes in at sixth position. In formulating his list the Commercial Director of the IFFO, included other variables such as export development and modernization of the industry. (FIS/MP).-

Peru launches satellite monitoring

Peruvian National Fishing Authorities have announced that the satellite control system in the fishing sector which is expected to begin in December, will lead to a 24 per cent increase in fishery for human consumption. This estimate is based on statistics provided by the Peruvian Sea Institute (Imarpe), which indicate that the volume of illegal catches reaches around 60,000 tonnes per year. It is therefore believed that the implementation of a satellite control system will lead to a 24 per cent increase in coastal fishery, which currently reaches around 250,000 tonnes per year. According to the deputy Minister of Fisheries, Leoncio Alvarez, this control measure will prevent steal and wooden vessels from fishing within the five mile area ? a sector reserved exclusively for coastal vessels, which contribute to an important share of fish destined for human consumption. Mr. Alvarez believes the new control system will prevent these vessels "from entering the five mile area, reserved for coastal fishery." The fine tuning of satellite equipment will begin during the next two weeks. At the moment, Peruvian authorities are assessing three companies that are technically qualified to carry out this task. In case none of these companies complies with Peruvian authorities requirements, other companies will be able to bid for the project as of January 2004, in which case installation of the system will begin in the second week of January. (FIS/MP).-

Australia introduces long-term fisheries rights

New long-term fishing rights are about to be introduced across the Commonwealth fisheries in south-eastern Australia next year. The new Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark (SESS) Fishery Management Plan, to be instituted early next year, will provide for a more stable and secure boat and quota fishing rights for operators, and will replace the current system of annually renewable permits, according to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). AFMA chairperson Dr Wendy Craik, said that the new statutory rights would be offered to Commonwealth-licensed fishers in the trawl, gillnet, hook and trap sectors from Queensland down to Tasmania, and across to the Western Australian coastline. AFMA will begin to process the new fishing rights once the new management plan has been finalized, and the new rights will apply from the beginning of the fishing season in January 2005. The new SESS Fishery Management Plan is one of the biggest changes in fishery management since AFMA began overseeing Commonwealth fisheries in 1992, Dr Craik explained. It brings together the plans for the South East Trawl; Gillnet, Hook and Trap, and Great Australian Bight Trawl fisheries under a single, overarching management framework. "In bringing these fisheries together, it makes the setting of quotas, monitoring and scientific assessments much easier, which will result in improved management of both fish stocks and the impact of fishing on the marine ecosystem," Dr Craik said in a press release. Primary catches for the SESS Fishery includes most of the fresh fish that are sold in restaurants and fast food outlets nationally, such as blue grenadier, orange roughy, gummy shark, ling, flathead and redfish. The AFMA is to post details of how to apply for these so-called Statutory Fishing Rights to all eligible fishers as well as placing newspaper advertisements and details on AFMA's website (, said Dr Craik. (FIS/MP).-

Stricter controls on red tide in Chubut

Given the growing risk of red tide infected mollusks fishery experts from the Patagonian Chubut province in southern Argentina have been applying since 2000 a management system based on a project developed by scientists from the National University of Patagonia San Juan Bosco's (UNPSJB) Natural Sciences Faculty's Hydrobiology Laboratory, with support from the General Directorate of Maritime Affairs and Continental Fishery in Chubut. The aim of the project is to prevent the consumption of contaminated seafood and involves the monthly testing of phytoplankton and commercially interesting mollusks, the results of which are then analyzed. The project involves 15 sampling stations, located in Golfos Nuevos, San Josè, San Matìas and Bahia Engaño. The Fisheries Directorate then bans seafood gathering according to the results obtained in each station. According to experts from the university, the red tide ? which gets its name from the change in colour of the sea's surface ? is a phenomenon that increases throughout the spring and summer. It is caused by phytoplankton organisms that get swept along by the water, and multiply in order to cover a wider area thus causing changes in the colour of the water's surface. These microscopic algae synthesize highly powerful toxins, which accumulate in the tissues and glands of their principle consumers. As a result, bivalve mollusks such as mussel, scallop and clam become contaminated, along with gastropods (winkle). The risk to consumers is particularly high as the affected mollusks suffer no change to their odor, colour or flavor, which means that it is impossible to detect toxicity by looking at any particular specimen. As well as this, it is impossible to deactivate this toxin through cooking. The scientists that developed the project are also carrying out several complementary educational activities aimed to raise awareness regarding the phenomenon. As well as providing information through the distribution of leaflets and tourist brochures, they provide training to medical doctors, nurses, health agents, tour guides and students, and help to run the National Network of Epidemiological Surveillance. (FIS/MP).-

Brazil plans USD 500 million fleet modernization

The Brazilian government will invest USD 500 million to modernize the country's fleet. This will form part of an ambitious development project proposed by President Luiz Inàcio Lula da Silva, in order to increase domestic fishing production. This announcement was made last week by Mr. Lula da Silva during the opening ceremony of the National Aquaculture and Fisheries Conference in Luziania, in the state of Goias. However Mr. Lula da Silva indicated that the Strategic Plan for the Sustainable Development of Aquaculture and Fisheries will be defined with the participation of delegates from all states that are involved in fishery or any fishery-related activities. During his speech, Mr. Lula da Silva announced that as from next year, the government will invest BRL 1,500 million (USD 500 million) ? from national banks ? to finance the construction of deep sea fishery vessels of up to 200 tonnes. He also announced that a new fishing regulation is being prepared in accordance with the new measures and the government's commitment to improve the sector. Since taking office Mr. Lula da Silva has focused on the development of this activity. According to information provided by the Aquaculture and Fisheries Department, (SEAP) industry production totals 1 million tonnes per year, 260,000 tonnes of which from the aquaculture sector. The leader of SEAP, Jose Fritsch, said that during 2003, catches of fresh water fish increased by 25 per cent, and by the end of this year, the sector is expecting a 60 per cent increase in shrimp production. The promulgation of a new law to improve coastal fishermen's access to compensation during ban periods was also announced. This aims to increase the willingness of local coastal and fresh water fishermen to comply with conservation and biological bans, the only way to guarantee the protection of certain species during their reproductive season. (FIS/MP).-

Chile toughens aquaculture concessions

Chilean Fisheries Undersecretary has modified the aquaculture concessions and authorizations regulation for the second time this year, in order to rectify two problems that the regulation has caused for the activity. The ruling in question is the Supreme Decree Nº 164, dated 9 September 2003, from the Ministry of Economy, Promotion and Reconstruction (Minecon), published in the Diario Oficial on Saturday 22 November. This is the fifth modification that has been made to the ruling since its promulgation in 1993. This time, the authorities believe there was a mistake in its composition. The lawyer for Acuasesorias Ltda, Marcelo Campos Larrain, told Aquanoticias that in order to gain aquaculture concessions, the government requires five copies of the plans for application to be submitted to the maritime authority ? the body in charge of certifying that plans have been prepared according to the established technical specifications. Fishing authorities believe that a error had been made in the previous ruling, since it stipulated that authorities must "endorse" the plans, implying a completely different role altogether. The word "endorse" was therefore replaced with "certify". A further modification means that, as from now, the Naval Undersecretary no longer needs a technical report to carry out application proceedings for the transfer of aquaculture concessions, something that, until now, was compulsory. According to Mr. Campos, this means that, in order to prove the validity of the aquaculture concession a National Fish Service document is required certifying that the farming center is listed in the National Aquaculture Register, and complies with the rulings included in Title V of the General Fishing Law. (FIS/MP).-

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