Celebrating the vital role of fisheries in feeding the world’s growing population, and promoting the importance of maintaining healthy and sustainable ocean ecosystems are the key focus areas this World Fisheries Day.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt used the occasion to highlight Australia’s role as an international leader in sustainable fisheries management as well as the strong performance of Australia’s fishing and aquaculture sectors.
“Seafood has long been an important staple food for cultures and communities here in Australia and across the globe,” Minister Watt said.
“Today, the world’s fisheries are more critical than ever in guaranteeing food security and nutrition.
“Australians know this better than most, and our fisheries managers, scientists and responsible fishers are working to ensure that our Commonwealth-managed fisheries continue to remain sustainable in a changing climate.
“Sustainable fisheries management is a global responsibility, and Australia is a world leader in discouraging illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices, which often result in overfishing and the degradation of marine ecosystems.
“We’re looking at measures to prevent the IUU seafood from reaching Australia and will soon seek input from industry, research bodies, governments, NGOs, and the community on how this is best managed.”
Last year, our thriving fisheries and aquaculture sectors had a gross value of production of approximately $3.6 billion, exported $1.4 billion worth of seafood and employed more than 14,000 people.
Minister Watt said with the industry in good shape overall, it was now time to look to the future to ensure it continued to grow.
“In October, I joined with representatives of Seafood Industry Australia and the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart to launch the Futures of Seafood project, contributing $450,000 in federal funding.”
“The project will look at ways we can support business certainty and sustainable growth opportunities for the seafood industry by looking at the impacts of emerging marine activities and climate change pressures on fishing and aquaculture.
“I’m proud that Australians can celebrate World Fisheries Day with seafood that is safe, sustainably-sourced and will be enjoyed for generations to come.”