26 C
Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

A win for the roughy

Latest News

Celebrating the life of Uncle Gordon Johnson 31/8/1950  – 26/1/2023

Pastor Uncle Gordon Johnson died peacefully on January 26. A celebration of his life will take place this Saturday, 11 February at the Mullumbimby Showground.

Other News

It’s not the fossils, it’s the fools 

Humans have been muddling along in cities for around twelve thousand years, says Wikipedia, although if you count using an alphabet of some kind as the criterion of civilisation, the time span drops to a mere fifty centuries.

A tribute for Richard Moloney

Byron Shire has lost another of its colourful characters, the irrepressible Richard Moloney, who died suddenly but peacefully in his home at the end of January.

Protest gets results

Psst: want to get Council staff to do something about the appalling state of roads in your neighbourhood?

Better outcomes start with teachers who believe in inclusive education

For all students – particularly those with additional needs – a teacher who doesn't believe in inclusive education can be harmful.

Corporate governance breaches

I totally agree with Warren’s comments on our system of free-market capitalism in Australia, (28 January). This is despite...

Land values rise

Your cover story on 25 January claims that land valuation rises could herald increases in Council rates. This is...

The orange roughy. Photo Wikipedia.

The battle for the ‘roughy has been a tough road for conservationists and hopefully, this win will be the last fight.

An appeal by the fishing industry to overturn a ruling on the sustainability of fishing for a long-lived Australian fish – the orange roughy – has failed following a long battle for science and Australian environmental laws to be respected.

An independent adjudicator threw out the appeal by consultants hired by the fishing industry – MRAG Americas. It means the orange roughy cannot be certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) because it is a protected species, listed as ‘Conservation Dependent’ under Australian law.

A nine-month-long battle

The ruling brings to a close a nine-month-long battle brought by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to prevent orange roughy harvested in south-east Australian waters from being awarded the MSC’s coveted blue tick.

Adrian Meder, AMCS’s sustainable seafood program manager, said he was delighted the fishing industry’s appeal had failed because a blue tick would have been disastrous for orange roughy and the deep-sea habitats in which it’s found.

‘The latest research shows orange roughy numbers have only just begun to recover in small parts of their population from historic overfishing, he said.

Numbers are likely to decline again

Mr Media said scientists have indicated that numbers are likely to decline again this decade due to lingering impacts from fishing that occurred 30 years ago. ‘Researchers have also found the fishery destroys ancient coral reefs that crest deep-sea mountains. It could take decades or even centuries for this fish and this habitat to recover to levels that could truly be called sustainable.’

Mr Meder said it was damaging to the MSC’s trust with Australians that the arbitration process was even required.

‘If the MSC had followed and enforced its own rules, we could have saved a lot of time,’ said Mr Meder. ‘These rules state that any species protected as threatened or endangered under a nation’s environment laws should not be considered a target of a fishery that carries their “blue tick”. But MSC were conspicuously silent when the fishing industry and its consultants barrelled forward with the certification process of the orange roughy fishery as sustainable.

‘They allowed them to pursue the process. They were only stopped by the hard work of AMCS and WWF at the last possible stage.

Mr Media said that at a time when Australian consumers are increasingly exposed to greenwash and sham sustainability, they need to be able to trust that when a group like the MSC tells them the fish with their blue tick is sustainable, they really mean it.

Reforming standards

‘They need to, and can, fix this by reforming their standard and lifting the bar they set to our fishing industry to ensure their blue tick actually means a high standard of environmental sustainability is required. 

‘Will they do it, though? We urge them – don’t just leave it for groups like ours to fight for the health of the ocean.’

Orange roughy are caught by deep-sea trawlers around south-eastern Australia. It is red listed in AMCS’s GoodFish Guide because of the impact of trawling on fragile ancient corals and because orange roughy is a protected species.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. From my memory, the orange roughy was ‘discovered some years ago in large numbers so it was targeted by the industry – but later research showed that the roughy is long lived and slow to reproduce, so the large numbers were due to wide age band, not reproduction. The numbers have fallen off significantly, so the blue tick is not warranted.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Helicopters, dogs and the police four day cannabis raid

While we get the hemp industry going on the Northern Rivers and the plant is legal in many countries across the world the police have once again headed out with their choppers and dogs to curb the cannabis cultivation that the region is known for. 

$945 or $45,500 – what is the value of a tree In Kingscliff? 

Dr Firth questions arborists' valuation of a paperbark tree to be removed for Kingscliff development and says the council needs to 'establish a reasonable standard of tree valuation'. 

Remembering the latest victim of domestic violence, killed by a man on bail

I granted bail to men who then killed. I refused bail to several who did not last 24 hours behind bars – shot, stabbed, hanged or drowned in their own vomit.

Bruns fig tree slated for the chop gets reprieve

A much-loved fig tree next to the Brunswick Heads boat harbour has been saved from destruction – for now – by the quick thinking of a local activist.