The fishing industry is outraged after a senior official at Abad Fisheries Cochin was suspended over allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
The Australian Government announced late on Thursday that Abad Seafoods chief executive officer Andrew Williams was suspended after he was found to have breached its ethical conduct policy.
Mr Williams has since apologised for the allegations, saying the allegations were untrue.
“We have been made aware of an allegation that has been made against Andrew Williams,” Fisheries Minister Tony Burke said in a statement.
“The Government will continue to work closely with the Australian Federal Police to identify the person responsible for this matter.”
Mr Burke said the matter was being investigated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
“There are no further details to share at this stage,” he said.
“Fisheries is committed to a culture of transparency and integrity and we will continue working closely with other government agencies to ensure we take appropriate action against those who breach our ethical standards.”
Fishermen and other stakeholders have expressed concern that the suspension will impact on the sector’s ability to operate in a legal environment.
“It’s an incredibly dangerous time for a whole industry that has seen some very serious issues around governance and governance in recent years,” said Scott Macdonald, who runs the Abad Fishing Association.
“When there’s an ethics breach, the whole system falls apart.”
Mr Macdonald said Abad would now consider all options, including appealing the suspension.
Topics:fish,government-and-politics,government,fisheries,sustainable-fishing-industry,africasouthern-australia,austland-7000,china,pacific,federal-government,canberra-2600Contact Paula Juhl