Resource Allocation and Access

Australian’s love to eat seafood, in fact every one of us eats an average of 140 serves of seafood per year, and Australia’s seafood industry is committed to putting the best Australian seafood on the table now, and for generations to come. 

Australian seafood comes from well-managed, sustainable fisheries and farms, which ensures that our fish stocks will be around for the future. For the sixth consecutive year (2019) Australia’s Commonwealth-managed fisheries have been given the tick of sustainability. This is something our commercial fishers are very proud of, and is unprecedented internationally. While the footprint of Australia’s trawlers is one of the smallest in the world. Coupled with our aquaculture sector – who provide fresh, high-quality seafood, year-round – Australian seafood is one of the best managed and most sustainable protein sources in the world.

We take our role in the global food task very seriously, and provide more than one billion seafood meals every year.

Ocean Access position paper

Australian waters are facing increasing pressure from activities such as oil and gas exploration and decommissioning, marine protected area expansion, the effects of climate change, indigenous title, coastal developments and, more recently, the emerging offshore renewable energy sector. These activities have the potential to affect commercially important fin-fish and invertebrate species, and their food sources. They have resulted in loss of access for the commercial fishing industry and it is expected they will increasingly continue to do so to the detriment of commercial fishers. As such, we have developed a position paper on the topic of Ocean Access.

With the input of our members, we’ve finalised development of this paper, capturing the views and needs of the aquaculture, wild-caught and post-harvest sector, resulting in an all-encompassing Ocean Access position paper for the whole of industry. We thank all members who provided their thoughts, time and input into this process.

Unlike the terrestrial environment, fishers do not hold defined property rights over their fishing grounds, which means there is currently almost limitless scope for displacement. There is also no recognition of cumulative impacts, or clarity for managing them.

Governments’ current approach to managing new and emerging industries is to promote “coexistence”, where all users must share the area with other users and interests. However, this premise is fundamentally flawed given the wide range of legislative instruments available to other sectors – but not to the fishing industry – to exclude and impact others, without adequate safeguards protecting existing operators.

We are pleased to present our finalised position paper along with a one-page extract summary paper available below:

Resource Security Task Force

In the face of growing threats to our industry, SIA has created the Resource Security Task Force. The Task Force will address the erosion of resource access and property rights, and the devaluation and destabilisation this brings to industry. 

The Task Force will develop a national strategy and actions to promote resource security, with the view of growing industry outputs to 1.5 billion meals. The absence of secure access to resources, both aquatic and terrestrial, is a major impediment to the confidence and growth of the Australian seafood industry.

Improving security of access is critical to providing an environment that encourages innovation and the confidence to invest and work in the Australian seafood industry.

Commonwealth Marine Parks

In a momentous win, SIA successfully lobbied for the adoption of the Commonwealth Marine Park management plans by Federal Government throughout 2018.  

SIA was able to unite the Australian Fishing Trade Association, Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation and Game Fishing Association of Australia to support the plans, lobby parliament and promote the plans in the media. SIA pursued a fair and reasonable compensation package for impacted fishers.

Sign up to our monthly
Australian Seafood News