Commercial fishing in Australia is the most regulated sector of any and yet we’ve never fished a fish species down to extinction at any time in our history. The industry is dominated by SMEs - SMEs who are the life blood of many small coastal communities. Fishermen play a vital role in our overall food security, but the tide is changing with the commercial fishing sector increasingly dominated by large corporates who convince policy makers to either buy small cottage based fishermen out or remove access to viable fishing grounds that are scientifically proven to be sustainable.
Fishermen and Community
In 2012 SME undertook an economic feasibility of the value the commercial fishing sector delivered small costal communities around Australia. Take a read. CLICK
Big Corporates and Fishing
Just like in Europe big corporates are starting to dominate the commercial fishing sector in Australia. In some areas of Australia’s territorial waters large companies - partly owned in Australia but with major off-shore investors - own over 75% of the fishery and yet, off-load 100% of the stock the catch in another country. None of that economic value comes back to Australia even though we own the fishery. Is this good policy and wouldn’t it be better to value and support small cottage based and sustainable fishermen?
What Does 100% Management of the Marine Environment Look Like?
Let’s be honest, adopting terrestrial - land based national parks - paradigms to deliver marine conservation outcomes doesn’t work and yet that’s what Governments ask the community and SMEs to support. Pelagic fish DO NOT respect arbitrary lines on a map and it’s ridiculous for the Federal Government to give stakeholders a set of colouring-in pencils and ask them to colour in what they deem needs ‘protection’ and then call that process, ‘science driven’. The entire lobbying effort around the Marine Bio-regional Planning process failed to consider SMEs.
The super trawler - a crisis in narrative management
In early 2012 a Tasmanian company sought approval to bring arguably the largest commercial fishing vessel ever into Australian territorial waters. But on 6 March 2013 she left Port Lincoln in South Australia, having reassumed her original name and has never been seen in Australia again.
100% management of the marine environment
Governments' grapple with terrestrial (land based) paradigms for marine conservation for good reasons - they don't work. National parks and marine parks are not the same. Why divide the ocean and the community when the social, economic and environmental solution is so simple?