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Greens establish Senate Inquiry into the impact of climate change on fisheries and our oceans

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 14 Sep 2016

Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has welcomed the support of the Senate in agreeing to establish an Inquiry into the impact of climate change on our fisheries and on marine biodiversity.

“The nation has been shocked by the now annual bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef from heating oceans. What everyone may not be aware of is that global warming is driving dramatic changes throughout Australia’s marine estate and this is having enormous impacts.

“In my own state of Tasmania, the waters off the East Coast have warmed at three times the rate of global averages as the warm summer waters near Sydney now reach more than a thousand kilometres further south.

“These warmer waters have caused the destruction of the once great kelp forests and have led to a spate of pests and diseases devastating the Tasmanian shellfish and fin-fish industries.

“Tropical fish like the dolphin fish can now be caught off the Tasmanian coast, as can an octopus that used to only be found around Sydney.

“Unless we get our fisheries management right in a changing climate then these industries are at risk, not to mention our precious marine biodiversity.

“The Federal Government is going through a process to wind-back the protections in the newly established Commonwealth Marine Reserves. I want this Inquiry to examine the implications for these proposed wind-backs in light of climate change.

“I have instigated a number of Senate Inquiries related to marine issues, such as into Southern Ocean, salmon farming and into marine plastics, which have all had a policy impact. I will work to make sure that this Inquiry leads to important outcomes,” he concluded. 

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Terms of Reference:

The following matter be referred to the Senate Environment and Communications Reference Committee inquiry and report by 30 June 2017:

 The current and future impacts of climate change on marine fisheries and biodiversity including:

(a)    recent and projected changes in ocean temperatures, currents and chemistry associated with climate change;

(b)   recent and projected changes in fish stocks, marine biodiversity and marine ecosystems associated with climate change;

(c)    recent and projected changes in marine pest and diseases associated with climate change;

(d)   the impact of these changes on commercial fishing and aquaculture, including associated businesses activity and employment;

(e)   the impact of these changes on recreational fishing;

(f)     the adequacy of current quota-setting and access rights provisions and processes given current and projected climate change impacts;

(g)    the adequacy of current and proposed marine biodiversity protections given current and projected climate change impacts;

(h)   the adequacy of biosecurity measures and monitoring systems given current and projected climate change impacts; and

(i)      any other related matters.

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