OVERVIEW

The National Seafood Industry Alliance (NSIA), representing Australia’s commercial fishing, pearling and aquaculture industries (The Fishing Industry), is committed to working with the Commonwealth Government to refine the Marine Reserve Network proposals to deliver the right balance for Australians who enjoy their local seafood and support conservation of the marine environment.

Australia’s commercial fishing industry provides premium quality, sustainably sourced seafood to Australia and the world. To continue to do this in an increasingly competitive global market, and with opposition from some well resourced conservation focused Non Government Organisations (NGO’s), the industry relies on secure access to productive fisheries.

Australia’s professional fishermen and women fully understand and support the fact that the productivity and sustainability of the fisheries they and the community depend on requires a healthy and ecologically resilient marine environment.

In just over eight months the Fishing Industry has developed detailed refinement proposals for the South-west, North-west, North, Coral Sea and Temperate East marine regions.

For some in the industry these refinements mean the difference between staying in business to supply Australian seafood and going out of business, and thus increasing this country’s reliance on imported seafood, the majority of which comes from countries that have much less impressive records for sustainable fisheries management and marine conservation.

The marine planning process should be providing the Government with a valuable opportunity to balance its conservation imperatives with the necessity of optimizing current and future Australian seafood production, within a well- defined threshold of sustainable natural resource use and Food Security and Climate Change considerations.

In developing its refinements the fishing industry has taken into account:

  • The industry’s combined and extensive knowledge and experience of the regions’ marine environment and fishing operations to design refinements meeting Government’s identified conservation objectives and priorities;
  • Operating with existing and extensive networks of other conservation related closures and within marine parks, irrespective of existing zoning arrangements, dramatically reduces future business and investment certainty;
  • Access security - embodied within existing fishing access rights such as licences, permits, statutory fishing rights, and/or allocated quotas - are a fundamental to economic efficiency and sustainable commercial fisheries management; and
  • Recognizing growth in other marine/maritime activities and thus increased risks from those activities (pollution, introduced marine pests, shipping, mining, oil & gas exploration and production); and that fishing appears disproportionately impacted by the government’s reserve proposals.

 

Growth in the volume of Australian shipping over the last 10 years

 Source: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Navigation Safety in Australian Waters 2010-2025 notes: “The growth in shipping activity around the Australian coastline has increased by 130% over the ten years to 2008-2009. It is likely to continue to grow at the same rate or more in the foreseeable future.

 

Australian reported maritime pollution events between 2000-2010

Source: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

Please take the time to read the Fishing Industry refinement proposals that can be accessed through the quick links panel on this page.

A network of marine reserves for the South-east Marine Region was established in 2007.