Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, today opened an industry forum that will consider the establishment of a national seafood industry peak body.
Minister Ruston said the forum would allow the commercial seafood sector to consider and agree on the next steps toward the development of a national peak body—an initiative the Coalition Government has supported by committing $535,000 to assist in its formation.
"Australia's fisheries and aquaculture production is forecast to reach a value of $2.9 billion in 2015–16. It makes an outstanding contribution to our national economy, particularly when you consider that more than half of our national production—or $1.7 billion—is forecast to be exported this year," Minister Ruston said.
"What's more, Australian fisheries are internationally regarded as among the best managed and most sustainable in the world.
"Maintaining and building on this success will demand clear communication of the science that underpins the world-class management of our fisheries. And it will demand consistent and decisive negotiation with governments, supply chains and international trading partners.
"In short, a strong and united industry voice is the defining challenge for the modern Australian seafood industry."
Minister Ruston said the project to establish a national seafood industry peak body had already reached a major milestone with the completion of initial scoping and finalisation of the first round of industry consultation.
"There is clear recognition from many sectors of the industry of the vital role a national peak body could potentially play in the future of Australian seafood," Minister Ruston said.
"That's a very good start for the project, which will require active leadership and commitment across all parts of the industry in order to be successful.
"It is now up to industry to decide whether to establish and fund a national peak body group."