So here we are – WWF has created a new policy debate amongst my industry.
The debate will work against environmental, non-government organisations (eNGOs) if and only if industry engages the public and politicians in an open discussion.
1) A New Policy Debate
The latest purchase of a net licence by WWF is another move to distort our market. Industry in Queensland and across Australia need to be very worried about WWF and similar conservation groups and a move toward increasing investments in our agricultural industries.
The latest acquisition of a Queensland fishing license by WWF raises many questions and as at today WWF as purchased 3 licences and none have been surrendered to Fisheries Queensland. The purchase raises the following questions:
- The public were expecting that these licenses were to be done away so why have they kept the licenses viable, rather than surrendering them to be binned altogether?
- Who has directed them to hold onto them and for how long?
- Why the interest in taking control of Australian fishing licenses when there are much more heavily fished fisheries overseas?
- Do they purchase licenses overseas? If so, what do they do with them?
- Are donors actually content with the resulting loss of food and other supplies in return for their donations? Do they know?
3) Use of Facts
WWF’s 2017 Annual Report – Page 9 states, ‘Within four weeks we had purchased two shark net licences – a move that will help save tens of thousands of sharks, dugongs, turtles and dolphins each year’. There is no science or set of statistics provided and because the narrative is to remove commercial fishing from Queensland waters it’s easier to target commercial fishing by vilifying commercial fishing. No mention of the thousands of vessels unrelated to commercial fishing that impact the species noted by WWF.
WWF is a big business selling nothing but destruction of otherwise productive industries supplying people’s basic needs. When will they be held accountable for spreading mistruths to promote such campaigns and removing nourishing food for the public?
4) Working with eNGOs
I am often asked. ‘why can’t you work with eNGOs?’
The people in my industry are hardworking and providing a sustainably harvested product from waters that are owned by the Queensland public. We commercially fish and provide this unique source of protein for the seafood consuming public and those that choose not to recreationally fish. WWF and eNGOs generally are an ongoing threat to commercial fisheries.
There is no trust and the proof is in actions and words, not just an industry view. On 19 July 2016, WWF Australia conservation director Gilly Llewellyn was paraphrased in the Brisbane Times as indicating that Ms Lewellyn said their actions would not lead to businesses closing or job losses (this was in relation to the acquisition of fishing licence to protect Hammerhead sharks).
Really? Now, almost 2 years later WWF has purchased 3 net licences and they have a policy objective for a net free north Queensland. So no jobs or business impacts hey? The organisation cares little for my industry or the seafood that is sustainably harvested for Queenslanders and Australians.
Please read previous posts regarding eNGOs and you will begin to understand the threat – eNGOs have been a key part in the declining area that commercial fishers can harvest seafood and with the securing of more commercial fisheries licences are stepping up the push to remove commercial fishing from our waters.
5) How can you help?
If you have concerns about the actions of WWF and you want to ensure ongoing access to fresh local seafood contact your State members, House of Representative or Senator. Please make your views known and support this local, iconic Australian industry. Government contact information is provided below:
Author: Eric Perez, CEO – Queensland Seafood Industry Association
Image: QSIA – Our seafood bounty at risk from eNGOs
The content of this post is provided for information purposes only and unless otherwise stated is not formal QSIA policy. The information on these posts are provided on the basis that all persons accessing the information undertake their own responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of it.