Australia has joined with international partners, the fisheries industry and stakeholders to protect a number of fisheries ecosystems in the southern Indian Ocean, at the fifth Meeting of the Parties to the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA), in Thailand.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, welcomed the decision of the SIOFA partner countries to close five seafloor areas to trawl fishing across the southern Indian Ocean that form an important part of marine diversity of the ocean bottom.
“Australia believes in working collaboratively with our international partners and industry in the spirit of good fisheries management, through forums like SIOFA to ensure well-managed fisheries across the globe,” Minister Ruston said.
“Oceans and fish are important shared resources, reliant on strong international management and cooperation and taking action now will ensure sustainable fisheries for generations to come.
“It’s refreshing to see multinational industry groups working proactively to protect these ecosystems, with members of the Southern Indian Ocean Deepsea Fishers Association (SIODFA), including Austral Fisheries, having already set these areas aside for conservation.
“I thank Austral Fisheries for fully supporting these area closures—initially, voluntarily through the industry associations from 2006, and reinforced by government in 2011. These new rules recognise the importance of these actions and mean that the areas will be protected from any activity.
“The Australian delegation also gained support for a Compliance Monitoring Scheme, in partnership with the EU. This is an important tool for monitoring countries compliance with SIOFA’s fisheries rules.”
Minister Ruston commended the partner countries for agreeing to tangible steps towards ensuring the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources in the southern Indian Ocean.
“Australia is proud of our international credentials, backed by world-class fisheries science and management, which enables us to achieve significant outcomes in global long-term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources,” Minister Ruston said.
“This year’s SIOFA meeting has yielded positive outcomes that will continue to contribute to the long-term conservation and sustainable use of fisheries resources in the southern Indian Ocean.”
For more information on SIOFA, visit www.agriculture.gov.au/fisheries/international/siofa.