Adopting a delicate balance between commercial fishing, community interest and the environment, is one that members of the Professional Fisher’s Association Inc. take very seriously. Sustainability is the first and foremost issue on the minds of commercial fishers as their livelihoods are reliant on healthy fish stocks and healthy environments into the future.
Off-stream impacts can and do have a dramatic impact on habitat and fish populations. Without fish stocks there are no fisheries to manage. Industry driven initiatives like seasonal and permanent closures, improvements in nets, mandatory bycatch reduction devices are just some of the changes introduced and supported by industry.
Commercial fishing has been a part of the NSW society since white settlement and continues today to play an important part of the social and economic fabric of communities along the coastline. Professional fishers play an integral role by supplying sustainable wild harvest local seafood to the community.
The NSW commercial fisheries are carefully managed under strict Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) legislated requirements. Comprehensive Fishery Management Strategies, which include a description of the fishery and its management arrangements, have been prepared and approved by the Minister for Primary Industries. Before each Strategy was finalized, a draft strategy was subject to a comprehensive environmental impact assessment process under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
The resource is shared amongst over 1,000 commercial fishers who catch fish for the whole community to enjoy. The industry has recognised the challenges in making fisheries sustainable and has led many of the changes introduced to improve environmental performance.
The PFA works closely with Ocean watch to ensure sustainable practices and continuous improvement is adopted within our industry. Ocean Watch Australia Ltd is a national not-for-profit environmental company that works to advance sustainability in the Australian seafood industry
The seafood industry, which includes aquaculture and oyster farmers is a vibrant industry which generates over half a billion dollars of economic activity each year, employing more than 4000 people. Of this, the wild harvest commercial fishing managed under NSW jurisdiction is worth more than $90 million dollars at first point of sale.
The NSW fishing industry is primarily made up of small family businesses that rely on high levels of local knowledge and skills learnt over many generations. These businesses use some of the most environmentally sound technology available, such as world leading by-catch reduction devices, and operate under stringent controls regarding their fishing times, seasons and equipment. The industry is constantly striving to improve its environmental performance and contributes millions of dollars each year to research and compliance programs.
The clean and green reputation of the whole NSW seafood industry depends on fisheries being viable, profitable and sustainable. The industry underpins the economy of many coastal towns providing wealth and employment in places, and at times of the year, where there is little other economic activity.