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Contaminated Fish Scare Highlights Mismanagement

06, August 2007

August 5th 2007

Australian consumers were being sold seafood imports that had a higher risk of contamination than locally caught fish because of poor environmental regulation said Don Burke, chairman of the Australian Environment Foundation.

“Comments by marine biologist, Dr Walter Starck last week, reinforce concerns the AEF had raised last year about poor management of Australia’s fishing industry and in turn, the extra pressure this was having on overseas fisheries”.

Fisheries Minister, Peter McGauran revealed last week that tests conducted by Australia’s quarantine authorities found residues of banned antibiotics in one third of samples of imported seafood.

“Not only has overregulation decimated the Australian fishing industry and deprived Australian consumers of fresh, local seafood we are now told consumers face higher risks of eating contaminated imported seafood.
Regulation of the environment and sustainable resource use must be based on science and evidence to produce ongoing benefits to the environment and society

Clearly this is not happening with the overregulation of the Australian fishing industry on the premise of protecting the environment” said Mr Burke.

"Australia has the third largest fishery zone of any nation.  It also has the most over-managed, heavily restricted and least productive fishery sector in the world" according to Dr Starck.  

"The total Australian wild caught fishery harvest is less than half that of New Zealand and less than a tenth that of Thailand which has a fisheries zone only 5 percent the size of Australia's.

Seventy percent of the seafood we consume is imported, all of it from regions far more heavily fished than our own" concluded Dr Starck.

Media Contact: Max Rheese 0428 621320

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