Australia: Shark fishers focus on sustainability
By the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)
28. May 2012
A group of 30 commercial shark fishers has improved their understanding of sustainable fishing practices in a two-day “Improved Environmental Work Practices” workshop at the South East Australia Maritime Education Centre (Seamec) in Lakes Entrance last week.
The workshop, a joint initiative between industry, AFMA and Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, examined a range of issues facing the fishery and worked on developing strategies and actions that the fishermen can adopt to improve the sustainability of this important industry.
Presenters covered a wide range of topics including current regulatory and reporting requirements, fish stock assessments, protected species and future marketing and management opportunities for the fishery.
AFMA Executive Manager Dr Nick Rayns said that AFMA strongly supports industry-driven programs such as these workshops.
“This initiative shows the industry taking responsibility for sustainability in a proactive and effective way,” Dr Rayns said.
Chair of Sustainable Shark Fishing Inc Brian Bailey said that environment and sustainability issues were of critical importance to all shark fishers and the industry was keen to improve their understanding of the issues.
“These fishers have always been committed to best practice in conducting their operations,” Mr Bailey said.
“The level of attendance at this course was a very clear demonstration of their concerns to maintain their fishing activities in a sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion,” he said.
Shark fisherman Shane Dugins said that the workshop got the fishers thinking about the challenges they face and how they can get involved in the future management of the fishery.
“The fact that there was 100 per cent attendance for the two days shows that the industry is serious about best practice operations and I would recommend all fishermen attend similar programs,” Mr Dugins said.
The Lakes Entrance workshop was the first of three being delivered by Seamec with workshops to be held in Devonport and Adelaide in late May 2012.
It follows a similar initiative for trawl fishing that won Seamec and the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA) a joint award at the 2011 Victorian Seafood Industries training awards.
Seamec Manager Richard Owen said that it was a great credit to the fishermen and the industry as a whole that they were taking proactive steps to ensure that all aspects of the fishery were managed in a sustainable way.
Source and Photo Credit: The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)