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Question: Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: PIRSA undertook a review of recreational fishing management in the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary in late 2022. The options paper for the review found there is a high likelihood of interactions between dolphins in the sanctuary and recreational fishing gear, and that there were high consequences for those interactions, including the entanglement and, at times, fatal injury to the dolphins. In recognition of the danger posed to the dolphins, in October 2022 a temporary cease fishing order was announced, ordering the cessation of all recreational fishing activities within 50 metres of a sighted dolphin.

This was a precautionary approach taken by the department with the intention of lowering the risk of interactions between recreational fishing activity and the dolphins in the sanctuary during a period of increased recreational fishing corresponding with kingfish season. The PIRSA report also notes that it is not only kingfish that frequent the port that sees the use of heavy fishing equipment: we also have mulloway, which are there year round, and a number of stingrays and whalers.

That order expired on 31 January this year. In a letter to a constituent on 11 March this year, from yourself as the Minister for Primary Industries and Reginal Development, you stated that these limits were in place to allow time to finalise a review on the fishing arrangements and to make long-term recommendations. It has now been six months since the report was released and no recommendations have been made. My questions to the minister are:

1. When will PIRSA provide recommendations regarding fishing in the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary?

2. Why was the decision to allow the cease fishing order based on the kingfish season, given there are at least six other animals fished in the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary that see the use of heavy tackle?

3. Given PIRSA's own review recognises the high risk of using heavy fishing gear on the dolphins within the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary, why was the order allowed to lapse, knowing these risks?

 

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I thank the honourable member for her question and her ongoing interest in these matters. I note also she is involved in a select committee of this place, which I think has delivered its interim report on the Dolphin Sanctuary, and I am sure there will be further recommendations in the final report, although I am not sure when that is to be handed down.

The honourable member is correct in that, following extensive consultation between the Department for Environment and Water and PIRSA, an options paper was developed to guide a review of the current recreational fishing management arrangements in the Port River Barker Inlet section of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. The purpose of the options paper was to ascertain the level of risk, and define that risk, associated with recreational fishing activities and review the suitability of management arrangements to mitigate any interruptions from recreational fishing that might have a negative impact of significance on the dolphins in the ADS.

The public consultation phase on the options paper commenced in September and did close in October. I would also like to thank all of those who made a submission to the PIRSA review of recreational fishing management arrangements. I have received a summary of the feedback, of course, through the consultation process and a report on the review. We are still working through that and looking at the different options that might be available and appropriate.

In terms of why a temporary arrangement was put in place, that was put in place under section 79 of the Fisheries Management Act 2007 and, as the honourable member correctly stated, it prohibited recreational fishing using fishing lines within 50 metres of a sighted dolphin. That was from 1 October 2022 to 31 January 2023.

The reason for that is that is a period of increased fishing effort, particularly because of kingfish, yes, but also because of the simple fact of holidays. People are more likely to be going fishing during the holiday season. So that was always intended to be a temporary measure that coincided with a time of peak fishing activity. I am now continuing to work through the various options and look forward to being able to update the chamber further in the near future.

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