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Disagreement over the quality of fisheries management in Australia

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Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has commissioned his own study into fish numbers off Western Australia.

Claims that sustainability measures in Australia are failing have angered the fishing industry.

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest says he will action a $100 million ocean conservation plan that will improve on the Federal Government current strategy, which includes opening up 80% of Australia’s marine parks to fishing.

Forrest insists Australia’s oceans are ‘in deep trouble’ and he is not happy about the proposal, which he says could see 44 marine parks lose protection and be opened up to industrial fishing.

But according to an article in The Western Australian, Forrest pledged last week through his Minderoo Foundation to carry out a study and set new marine protection measures that will be more effective.

However, Western Australia marine scientist Chris Jones told The Western Australian: “To take the stance he has on marine parks when the research is still questionable, given the voice and influence he has, is irresponsible.” Jones said the proposed fishery closures would affect fishing and tourism.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said Forrest had not sought to meet the State government over his proposal. “We welcome investment into research. However I want to make it clear that WA fisheries are managed sustainably,” he said.

WA Fishing Industry Council Chief Executive John Harris said the State was a world leader is sustainable fishery management, adding that Mr Forrest’s claims of foreign boats fishing in Australia water were not true.

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