23 October 2015

The below letter was provided to Georgie Burgess in response to her article published in the Tasmania publications The Examiner and The Advocate on 21 October 2015.  AFMA sought a correction over inaccurate attribution of statements to the Agency and Dr Nick Rayns, Executive Manager Fisheries.


23 October 2015

Dear Ms Burgess

I write to correct several statements made in your reporting of 21 October 2015 that are incorrectly ascribed to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and/or myself.

The articles, Profits favoured over protection of mammals, says Whish-Wilson  in  The Advocate and Trawler’s profits ‘priority’  in The Examiner, incorrectly attributes the statement, “The Australian Fisheries Management Authority told the hearing that the skipper reported the device was causing the boat to lose 30 percent of its catch”, to AFMA.  Senator Whish-Wilson made this statement, not AFMA.

Similarly, the statement, “Nick Rayns told the hearing that a night ban on fishing was lifted because, combined with other measures, it was ‘too much’ ”, the quoted words “too much” are Senator Whish-Wilson’s, not mine as this statement clearly implies.

Further, the lifting of the night time fishing ban was not a decision AFMA made in isolation as a reader of the article may be led to believe, but one AFMA made following advice from marine mammal mitigation experts. The experts regarded the night fishing ban as redundant while a dolphin area closure trigger was in place, that is, if a single dolphin mortality occurs in any one of the seven Small Pelagic Fishery management zones, that zone will be closed for six months. This finding is listed in the publicly available report, Small Pelagic Research Coordination Program: Technical workshop to explore options for mitigating marine mammal interactions in the Small Pelagic Fishery.

I would appreciate your printing these corrections in full at the earliest opportunity.

Yours sincerely


Dr Nick Rayns

Executive Manager, Fisheries