South Australia's Fishing Sectors
South Australia's fisheries resources support significant commercial fishing activity, recreational fishing and some subsistence and traditional fishing. The nature of fish and their habitats means that fisheries resources are also of direct interest to a range of other stakeholders, including environmental groups, resource managers, researchers, indigenous and community groups.
The Fishing Industry includes any industry or activity conducted within Australian waters or from an Australian territory concerned with harvesting, culturing, processing, preserving, storing, transporting, marketing, or selling fish or fish products.
The three principal Fishing Industry sectors are the recreational, commercial, and indigenous sectors. The commercial sector includes aquaculture. Additionally, there are non-extractive users and valuers of the marine environment: for example, people associated with tourism, conservation, pleasure boating and non-extractive diving.
Sustainable management of marine resources is the responsibility of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA) under the Fisheries Management Act (2007), notably Section 7, that states the principle objectives to:
ensure, through proper conservation, preservation, and management measures, are to be implemented to protect the aquatic resources of the State from over-exploitation and ensure that those resources are not endangered.
access to the aquatic resources of the State is to be allocated between users of the resources in a manner that achieves optimum utilisation and equitable distribution of those resources to the benefit of the community.
Thus, the role of Government, as custodian of the resources, is to ensure its long term sustainability, and, within this mandate; maximise the economic return to the community from the resources; and to share the resources equitably amongst all user groups.
The production ‘end’ of South Australia's Commercial Fishing Industry essentially comprises a rapidly growing aquaculture industry, major wild-catch fishing sectors and a significant recreational fishery. The latest information about the Aquaculture Sector can be obtained through PIRSA's website www.pir.sa.gov.au/aquaculture.
Aquaculture has developed rapidly from a single species sector, viz. oysters in 1988, to a multi-species sector comprising:
sea cage systems - southern bluefin tuna, Atlantic salmon, yellowtail kingfish, snapper and rock lobster;
deep water shellfish - abalone, mussels'
intertidal shellfish - oysters, and
land-based systems - barramund, marron, freshwater crayfish, algae, abalone.
The commercial wild catch fishing sectors comprise:
Abalone - encompassing the Southern, Western and Central Zone fisheries;
Blue Swimmer Crab fishery;
Inland fisheries, viz The Murray River and the Lakes and Coorong Fishery;
Marine Scalefish (including a specific sardine fishery sector)
Prawn fishery, encompassing the Gulf St Vincent, Spencer Gulf and West Coast fisheries; and
Rock Lobster - encompassing the northern and southern zone fisheries.
South Australia also benefits economically from a number of Commonwealth managed fisheries off the coast of the State, including southern bluefin tuna (which is also the major component of the aquaculture sector), southern shark fishery, the Great Australian Bight (GAB) trawl fishery and the South East Trawl Fishery (SETF).
The State's recreational fisherty involves in excess of 450,000 individuals over the age of five that fish at least once a year and contributes about $350 million in recurrent expenditure (Review of Recreational Fishing 2001). In addition to direct catch, the resources support a thriving tourism sector in many regions of the State.
For more information, contact the SA Recreational Fishing Advisory Council Inc - through SARFAC's website.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have developed a close, interdependent relationship with the land, water and living resources of Australia through traditional fishing practices over tens of thousands of years. That relationship includes customary rights and responsibilities of particular indigenous groups to particular areas of land, water and resources. Some of these customary rights and responsibilities are now recognised in Australian common law and through native title legislation.
Commercialisation of fisheries and expansion of recreational fishing across Australia has affected some traditional fishing. However, this effect has been less noticeable in South Australia than in other Australian States and Territories. A policy on indienous fisheries is to be developed by the State Government. Indigenous people are also involved in a variety of aquaculture enterprises throughout the State.
From 1 September 2007 Fisheries Management Committees have been replaced by the Fisheries Council of South Australia, with more information available on PIRSA's website.