Media Release

Torres Strait fisheries built on strong partnerships

8 October 2014

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, today paid tribute to the rich history of Torres Strait fishing during a dedication ceremony at the Department of Agriculture office on Thursday Island.

Minister Joyce said that the Torres Strait had made a substantial contribution to Australia’s fishing industries over many years.

“The waters of the Torres Strait are now nationally and internationally prized for their rock lobster, crayfish, prawns and sea cucumber,” Minister Joyce said

Minister Joyce said that the Department of Agriculture, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) and local communities were working in partnership to protect these valuable waters from biosecurity threat and illegal fishing.

“These agencies work closely together to identify and destroy illegal fishing boats. In 2012–13 ten fishing vessels operating illegally in the Torres Strait were apprehended,” Minister Joyce said.

“The partnerships we have in place across the Torres Strait are essential to the protection of priceless natural assets and local industries in the north.

“Maintaining the biosecurity health and safety of the islands is not only important for Torres Strait, but central to the protection of all Australia’s agricultural and fishing industries from the threat of exotic pest and disease.”

The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, AFMA and the TSRA currently share accommodation in the historic ‘Pearls Building’ on the waterfront of Thursday Island.

“The strength of the partnerships in place to protect Australia in the north is through cooperation across complementary legislation to support a common cause,” Minister Joyce said.

“There is a strong link between maintaining the health of the environment, the health of people and the health of our fisheries.

“The close cooperation of these agencies is making a real difference to safeguard the productive future of the Torres Strait.”