Way forward on IOT fisheries management
The Australian Government remains committed to a robust and sustainable solution for fisheries management in the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT).
Following extensive community consultation and feedback on the strong interest from the Christmas Island (CI) and Cocos Keeling Islands (CKI) communities in local management and self-regulation, the Australian Government will work in collaboration with the CKI and CI communities to develop a model of fisheries management that delivers a regulatory framework fit for purpose in the IOT.
One option I am keen to explore is the establishment of a community ranger program to assist in both education and regulation. This is a model used effectively in other remote communities where fisheries plays a key cultural and religious role in local life. It could also offer local employment opportunities.
Under any potential approach, it will be critical that you continue to practise sustainable fishing and that we work together to implement a model which secures the IOT fishing future. I will continue to work with you towards a tailored framework reflecting the shared priorities of all stakeholders.
The Australian Government will support further research of local fisheries stocks to inform management frameworks, which will include community input.
Thank you to everybody who has contributed to this outcome.
I am confident that together we can deliver a framework that provides for sustainable local fisheries for current and future generations, while also recognising the unique cultural needs of your island communities.