The Aquaculture Committee is a consultative group made up of representatives from each state and territory to consider key issues fundamental to policy, regulation, and governance of aquaculture in Australian waters. Whilst each region has its own unique characteristics and the policy positions of individual departments may vary, many issues are common to all States and there are significant advantages to sharing information and management tools that can be universally applied.
Aquaculture Committee meets twice a year. Representatives from Fisheries Research Development Corporation, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the National Aquaculture Council have a standing invitation to attend meetings. The Chair is a member of the Australian Fisheries Management Forum. The Aquaculture Committee Charter provides a terms of reference for the group.
Aquaculture Committee met 9 March 2017 at Melbourne Airport. The Chair gave introductory comments noting a large Biosecurity content for this meeting, also a key focus also on national industry development.
Attendance: All States and Territories except Tasmania, also Fisheries Research Development Corporation (FRDC), CSIRO, Sub-Committee for Aquatic Animal Health, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR), the National Aquaculture Council, and a representative of Animal Health Australia.
Draft National Aquaculture Strategy: DAWR were looking to finalise the Strategy by the end of March 2017 but additional comments and the WA election will make this unlikely. The final version is to go back to Australian Fisheries Management Forum for endorsement before sign off.
Aquaculture Farm Biosecurity Plans: A template prepared by the Commonwealth was well received. Funding is available to develop oyster hatchery and abalone farm plans.
White Spot Disease: The detection and response actions around the appearance of White Spot Disease in SE Queensland were discussed. The disease has caused significant disruption to the aquaculture, commercial and recreational fishing industries as well as seafood and bait suppliers. A number of states have provided support to manage the outbreak. Movement restrictions are in place to contain the outbreak.
Aquatic Emergency Aquatic Disease Response Arrangements: All key aquaculture sectors are involved. Commercial fishers are represented by the National Seafood Industry Alliance. Aim to have a draft deed by end of 2017. Recreational fishery and indigenous issues recognised as part of public benefit with their interests represented by Government. A communications plan and training package will be developed.
Chemicals: The ongoing issue of approval for chemicals used in Australian aquaculture was discussed. Aquaculture Committee will work with the SCAAH chemical sub-committee to clarify chemical tasks and investigate funding to support applications.
Socio-economic evaluation of Aquaculture: A NSW study was discussed and it was noted how effective the project was. An FRDC workshop in February focussed on a national approach to the issue. Agreed it was very useful information to support regional planning, social perceptions and RD&E. http://www.uts.edu.au/about/faculty-arts-and-social-sciences/research/projects/social-and-economic-evaluation-nsw-coastal
Seafood Directions: There is an opportunity for Aquaculture Committee to highlight innovative reforms to attract investment and develop the aquaculture industry at the Seafood Directions Conference in September 2017. http://www.seafooddirectionsconference.com/
Aquaculture Committee met Tuesday 11 October 2016 by phone. The Chair Dr Geoff Allan (DDG NSW DPI) provided introductory comments and thanked Aquaculture Committee members for the quality of the submitted updates.
Attendance: All States and Territory; Fisheries Research Development Corporation (FRDC); Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR); and Sub-Committee for Aquatic Animal Health (SCAAH). PIRSA and Animal Health Australia representatives for specific items.
Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMF): The Chair noted Commonwealth Marine Reserves, Aquaculture in Commonwealth Waters, Productivity Commission Report 2016 and National Aquaculture Strategy discussions at AFMF.
Draft National Aquaculture Strategy: An early September draft was discussed with comments due 19 October. The Commonwealth will consider comments with a new draft to come to Aquaculture Committee out of session for endorsement then to AFMF. Aiming for the end of 2016 to finalise the document. The Strategy flows from the 2014 National Aquaculture Statement. It has an aspirational goal to double the value of Australian aquaculture production to $2 billion by 2026.
AquaVet Chemicals: PIRSA representative reported on the Aquatic Veterinary Medicines Working Group. The Group covers most states delivering on Objective 4 from AQUAPLAN 2014-19. The Group is well suited to support Minor Use Permits (MUPs) lodged to benefit all aquaculturists. Recent successes in coordinating approvals and getting private sector support were noted. A table was provided to AC members summarising current MUPs/ registered products noting a number were being applied for.
Emergency Aquatic Disease Response Arrangements: Animal Health Australia (AHA) representative provided an update. It is the half way mark of four year project. Engagement with relevant sectors that would benefit from an Aquatic Emergency Animal Disease Response arrangement underway. Oysters Australia now participating as are other key aquaculture groups – Australian Abalone Growers Assoc., Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Assoc., Australian SBT Industry Assoc., Prawn, Barramundi and Pearl associations and Pet Industry Association of Australia. AHA working on how best to represent interests and to engage with recreational fishers.
Seafood Directions 27029 September 2017: Suggestion that a greater focus on aquaculture would be useful for Seafood Directions 2017 at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre 27-29 September 2017. Suggestions for topics: Social licence and aquaculture; social and economic evaluation of aquaculture; myth busting aquaculture; environmental innovation (eg remediation systems); cooperative marketing with wild sector.
Next Meeting face to face in Melbourne March 2017
Aquaculture Committee met Wednesday 11 May 2016 by phone. The Chair Dr Geoff Allan (DDG NSW DPI) provided introductory comments and welcomed Aaron Irving (National Aquaculture Council). The Chair acknowledged departing member Pheroze Jungalwalla’s efforts over many years working for the Australian Aquaculture Industry.
Attendance: All States; National Aquaculture Council (NAC); Fisheries Research Development Corporation (FRDC); Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR); and Sub-Committee for Aquatic Animal Health (SCAAH).
Social Science and Economic Research Coordination Unit: Emily Ogier presented on this program under FRDC. Acknowledged that socio-economic information at a state and national level was very important. Various projects underway. There is capacity to provide comment on EOIs/research priorities and link with all seafood sectors. Information sourced will support discussions on the social acceptability of the seafood industry nationally.
National Translocation Guidelines: The final draft document was circulated for Aquaculture Committee comment.
National Industry POMS Response: It was noted that the document captured key issues especially the status of Australian Seafood Industries (ASI) and Pacific Oyster breeding lines. The Chair was to follow up at a national level to discuss support options for ASI.
Legislative Matrix: South Australia has prepared a matrix to allow for comparison of aquaculture legislation between States and Territories.
State Aquaculture: The recent Queensland Aquaculture Policy Statement and proposed Aquaculture WA State Forum were noted.
AquaVet Chemicals: A number of Minor Use Permits (MUPs) are being applied for to cover either sectors, or all in the Australian aquaculture industry. Aquaculture Committee is working with the National Aquaculture Council to streamline processes, avoid duplication of MUPs, and raise awareness.
Emergency Aquatic Disease Response Arrangements: The seafood industry has met and is proceeding to consider response arrangements.
Next Meeting: by Telelink October 2016.
Next Meeting: by Telelink 11 May 2016