As the seafood sustainability debate in Australia moves forward, the dialog is increasingly not just between industry and government, but also with a range of marine conservation-focused NGOs. Industry needs positive dialog with these groups to build up trust and ultimately cooperation on sustainability issues.
Fishers have often been blamed for much that is wrong with the marine environment. However fishers understand that fishing and conservation are natural bedfellows as their livelihood depends on sustaining the ocean ecosystem and the resources within.
The seafood industry therefore needs to highlight the long-term benefit of balancing the need for conservation against the need for food and other services. In the UK there is a broad seafood industry perspective that fishers must be recognised as an essential part of building a sustainable future for the marine environment.
Phil, has been working in this field for the UK seafood industry for the past 20 years. Initially engaging with environmentalists when the rest of the industry thought it was 'crazy' to do so. He successfully managed to bridge the gap between conservationists, industry and government and for the last 10 years has run the UK's sustainable fishing advisory group, which brings together industry, conservationists and government membership.
It is felt that the seafood industry would greatly benefit and gain positive outcomes from the experience Phil has gained over the last 20 years. This is an opportunity to improve the communication, respect and cooperation between industry and conservationists that is so sorely needed.