​Media Release

Talking with communities in the Torres Strait​

3 March 2016

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, will be in the Torres Strait over the coming days to talk with community members, traditional owners, commercial fishers, and the Torres Strait Regional Authority's (TSRA) board about fishing in the region.

Minister Ruston said that she was looking forward to the visit and having a chance to hear first-hand from the community about the fisheries issues that affect them.

"This is my first trip to the Torres Strait as the Australian Government Minister responsible for fisheries," Minister Ruston said.

"As the new Chair of the Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA), I am keen to understand the fisheries issues and opportunities within the region.

"The Torres Strait is a unique part of the world, with fishing an integral part of the region's culture and economy.

"I look forward to speaking with community members and listening to their concerns and ideas about the direction of fisheries management in the region.

"I know that there is strong interest in transitioning to 100 per cent ownership of the Torres Strait fisheries by traditional owners and I am keen to hear what feedback the public consultation has produced to date.

"It is also pleasing to see communities progressing initiatives to ensure fishing is viable and a valuable part of the community for many years to come, including exploring trade opportunities with China and beyond."

Minister Ruston is visiting Horn Island, Thursday Island, Mer and Erub on her two day visit and will meet with the Torres Strait Regional Authority board as well as community members.

The PZJA is responsible for management of commercial and traditional fishing in the Australian area of the Torres Strait Protected Zone and designated adjacent Torres Strait waters.

For more information about fisheries management in the region, visit the Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority's website at pzja.gov.au.  The next PZJA meeting is scheduled for May.