7 June 2018

On World Oceans Day the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is celebrating its role in helping keep our oceans clean and working with Indigenous artists to turn marine debris into art.

AFMA’s acting CEO, Dr Nick Rayns said our oceans produce over half of the world’s oxygen, 97 per cent of fresh water and feed more than three billion people.

“Sustainable fisheries require healthy and clean oceans, and everyone can contribute to ensuring our marine environment remains pristine.

“AFMA and Commonwealth fishers have been playing their part, working closely with other government agencies to detect and retrieve marine debris in Australian waters,” Dr Rayns said.

“Australian commercial fishers follow strict rules in relation to gear and the vast majority of lost and abandoned, or ghost, nets retrieved have drifted into the north of Australia from foreign fishers operating outside Australian waters.

“Ghost nets are often picked up by oceanic currents and travel large distances, and can continue to indiscriminately fish, trapping and killing marine life.

“Working closely with the Maritime Border Command and Parks Australia, AFMA and Commonwealth commercial fishers have retrieved ghost nets weighing many tonnes.

“To raise awareness of the negative impact ghost nets we commissioned artworks from Indigenous artists from Torres Strait, Cape York and East Arnhem Land, made out of abandoned fishing gear retrieved from Australian waters.

“They are fantastic pieces of art that remind us the marine life we depend on for leisure activities, food and income, also depends on us to keep our oceans clean and healthy.”

More information on Commonwealth fisheries management and the ghost net artwork can be found at afma.gov.au and pzja.gov.au, or on AFMA’s Facebook page.