Not just whales

Apart from slaughtering whales in the name of scientific research, Japanese fishermen admit that they took 1500 tonnes of illegal southern bluefin tuna in addition to their allowed 6000 tonnes last year and expect the illegal figure to rise furthur this year (Sunday Times, 5 March, page20).

While the governemnt has promised to be more protective of our coastline against subsistence Indonesian fishermen who risk their lives in crappy (but getting better) boats to feed thier families, why do the authorities seemingly do nothing against modern boats fishing for profit?

Posts: 485

Date Joined: 04/02/06

BFT Take

Sun, 2006-03-05 13:56

Best I Know it may go something like this.

The Japanese take is an agreement between our nations on TAC based upon saving a collapsing fishery.

It seems that the Japanese don't recognise our claims to the antarctic waters or some such - yet they do abide by our 200 Nm economic exclusion zone.

So, in the southern ocean waters where they take BFT's - they "made a gentelmens agreement with us" to restrict their catch to a certain figure (6000 tonnnes?) and sometimes, well you know how it is, all the boats get home and tote up their combined catch and between a lot of boats a tiny bit over on each boat = oops a little bit extra than we figured! (1500 tonnes).

How we got them to agree to 6000 tonnes annually I think had something to do with threatening to stop them letting their tuna longline boats refuel and reprovision at Aussie ports or something if memory serves.

Now days they have at sea refuelling and factory processing ships so really - all bets are off! (I.e we have bugga all leverage). Then add we are fighting em over whales and you can see that - if they wanted to they can take whatever they like.

Unless we are actually prepared to use 'gun boat diplomacy' against the Japanese (are we REAALLY capable of surviving without Japanese cars and trucks in Oz with our tyrrany of distance?) then theres NOT a lot of "negotiating power" we can use is there? I mean - these asians countrys now finance us and hold the key to our resources boom - etc etc.

Basically - we bend over - hold our ankles, grin and bear it - while we hand em some KY Jelly and say "be gentle with me!". ;o)

If you ever saw the size and numbers of Southern Blues that used to be poled (double poled) onto tuna boats back in the good ol days compared to the tiddlers that swim our oceans now - you'd realise how stuffed our SBT stocks really are!

Ain't likely to change any unless the economic / political situation changes very rapidly IMHO.

And, if it did, and the SBT's recovered back to what they used to be, what the heck would we do with em? Can em for catfood? Cray Bait?

No one could tell me theres THAT many Aussies who like sushimi raw tuna with wasabi?

So - we would sell them to Japan - no?

So - we sell em to the Japanese or the Japanese come catch em - cest la vie...the SBT stocks are still stuffed - it's just the method of stuffing em and who gets to do the stuffing (profits), that alters!

If things keep going as they are and the SBT schools are too small and to wide spread to be economically viable...for the big processing factory ships, THEN - just THEN maybe - Bluefin Tuna farming may become profitable again (assuming we can still get enough small fella's with small local boats to stock the grow out cages).

Either way - does anyone think the stocks will ever go back to being what they once were?

I'd say, like the Model T Ford, - those days are long since dead!