South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association February Newsletter

3 Mar

South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association

February’s edition is the two year anniversary of this newsletter and reports on Australian fisheries management’s 2nd placing, A Current Affair’s piece on seafood prices, on the departure of AFMA’s trawl manager and a Queensland commercial fisherman’s perspective on marine parks.
Silver medal for Australia's fishery management
Silver medal for Australian fisheries management

report published by the Fisheries Research Centre at the University of British Columbia has measured how much countries attempt to do towards managing their fisheries.  The report examines countries’ compliance with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.  The 53 countries reviewed represent over 95% of the world catch.
The report used fourteen indicators of resource management, expressive both of intention and effectiveness then presents these in four different weightings of the indicators; Market First; Policy First; Security First, and Sustainability First.
The report ranked Australian fisheries management 2nd of the 53 countries for Sustainability First (page 7, table 4).  Only Germany ranked higher and Sweden was ranked 3rd.
This latest ranking is not surprising, in February this year the newsletter reported how the Nature Journal had published a paper that had used a different analysis system to rank Australia’s fisheries management 4th out of 53 countries.

What’s up with seafood prices?
Relative prices flathead and Percophis brasiliensis
Chanel 9’s A Current Affair aired a segment on seafood prices recently.   Without citing evidence the piece suggested that seafood prices were rising and that marine parks and/or seafood scarcity may be responsible.  It is difficult to reconcile this given that preliminary ABARES data on the South East Trawl (SETF) suggests that port prices have actually decreased.  ABARES data showing that SETF catches have increased and continued positive changes in the most recent stock status report suggests that SETF fish is becoming less scarce.  The SETF is the largest single supplier to the Melbourne and Sydney fish markets.  The piece incorrectly compares Australian flathead prices to a species from Argentina Percophis brasiliensis which is not related to flathead (and certainly is not as pictured above) but is marketed by some supermarkets as “flathead”.   SETFIA completed a review of flathead prices (the real one) and found them to be in the $30-$35/kg range – equivalent to other premium proteins such as ribeye steak.

Sea change for Trawl Manager


Brad Milic, the AFMA manager in charge of the South-East Trawl Fishery, leaves this role today.  Brad has taken up a role with South Australian fisheries and will relocate to Adelaide putting him closer to his family in South Australia and to his love of saltwater fishing.  Brad has developed hugely over the last three years in what is one of AFMA’s most challenging roles.  He has been able to maintain excellent relationships with industry members, researchers and advisory groups while still implementing the Fisheries Management Act.  Brad’s fishing heritage and seagoing observer experience positioned him well for this role and industry has been thankful of his “hands on” knowledge.   The Association thanks Brad for all his work and wishes him every success and tight lines in South Australia.
Drawing the line
Promo for drawing the line
Queensland fishing family the Davey’s have produced a video that in their view sets the facts straight on the Commonwealth Government’s plans for huge marine protected areas.  They believe that scientists and fishermen know the truth and will soon release a documentary film called Drawing the Line that will give their perspective of what the future of the Australian fishing industry means to the future of Australia.  A promo of this film can be viewed here.
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