By embracing best management practices and adhering to stringent safe food guidelines, the NSW seafood industry has developed an excellent reputation for safe, quality seafood - meaning consumers are able to purchase NSW seafood with confidence.
Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture
Wild harvest fishers and aquaculturists have a keen respect and awareness of the fragility of the environment in which they operate on a daily basis. They work with fisheries managers to help ensure future generations can continue to enjoy fresh local seafood.
The development and implementation of Fishery Management Strategies (FMS) for each major NSW wild harvest fishery has provided a framework for their long term management. Underpinned by rigorous Environmental Impact Assessments, the FMS’s outline how the environmental, social and economic impacts of a specific fishing activity are being addressed. They also detail programs for monitoring the performance of the fishery against the management goals to help ensure the activities remain sustainable. In addition, Share Management Plans provide a regulatory framework for a number specific fisheries management controls. Examples of these include zoning; spatial and temporal closures; minimum size limits; fishing gear specifications; protection of fish habitat and; species which may be taken.
For the main local seafood species caught for consumption, the exploitation status of fish stocks is annually assessed by fisheries scientists and managers using all available data, including catch and fishing effort information recorded by commercial fishers in compulsory logbooks (that require fishers to record their catches on a daily basis). A detailed summary of the available catch and biological information for these species is contained in a report published every two years titled, Status of Fisheries Resources in NSW.
Sustainable Aquaculture Strategies (Strategies) have also been developed for oysters and land based aquaculture to promote their viability and sustainability. The Strategies include a vision for industry growth, a whole of government approach to approval of new farms, a risk management approach for site selection, design and operation of farms to reduce environmental risk, and best industry practice. For the oyster industry the Strategy also looks to secure the long term future of the industry in our estuaries and provide guidelines to protect water quality from impacts in the catchment for the benefit of the oyster industry and the broader seafood sector.
Of major concern to wild harvest fishers and aquaculturists alike is land use and natural resource management issues affecting estuarine and marine habitats. Healthy coastal and estuarine fish habitat is critical to the ongoing sustainability of fish species as it is used for breeding, shelter and feed. Many within the seafood industry, including the Dept of Primary Industries, continue to be heavily engaged in aquatic habitat protection and conservation.
Find out more
- Wild Harvest EIS and FMS
- Status of Fisheries Resources in NSW 2008/09
- Habitat Management
- Aquaculture Strategies
Sustainable Fishing Practices
To help ensure NSW wild harvest fishing practices are sustainable, the Dept of Primary Industries undertakes research to improve fishing gears and reduce bycatch (commonly refers to the part of a fishers catch that is not the target species). Industry participates in and contributes thousands of dollars each year towards this research.
Research using some of the most environmentally sound technology available has led to NSW wild harvest fishers using bycatch reduction devices and selective gear designs; thus allowing them to catch target species in the desired size range, while minimising the catch of non-target species.
For example, the use of an approved bycatch reduction device is now mandatory in the NSW ocean and estuary prawn trawl fisheries; there are regulations stipulating the use of a fish escape panel in fish traps in the Ocean Trap and Line Fishery; while in the Estuary General fishery commercial fishers are prohibited from returning unwanted catch back to the water unless via a discard chute (tube that returns fish directly into the water therefore reducing the impact of birds lying in wait on the surface).
Aquaculture research focuses on developing faster growing, disease resistant Sydney rock oysters, pearl oysters and marine fish as well as aquaculture diet formulation, hatchery techniques, breeding for restocking purposes and ranching techniques for abalone.