A recent FRDC report on Community Perceptions of the Australian Fishing Industry (2011) identified that only 27 percent of those surveyed believe that commercial fishing is sustainable - a similar result was found in surveys in 2003. This finding reflects very poorly on commercial fishing despite the considerable resources that have been invested over the past decade on changes to fishing and management practices. It is evident that consumersc remain largely unaware of the significant progress that has been made. This project will address an element of these consumer concerns about Australian fishers, responsibly fishing.
Consumers need to be able to justify support for the Australian fishers through a framework they recognise, such as a benchmark standard. A core problem is that most sectors of the commercial fishing industry do not have an appropriate framework under which they can promote their responsible fishing practices to consumers. The current mechanisms are fragmented and wide ranging which is confusing for the fishers. In addition, the cost associated with many of the higher level certification schemes are beyond the capacity of many fishery sectors, particularly the smaller inshore sectors. This project provides the extension and adoption framework to resolve this problem at the fishery sector, regional or at individual fisher level - no other scheme offers this breadth of scope. It is envisiaged that this will be a low cost initiative affordable by industry
This Draft Australian Standard is intended to be used as a basis for a certification scheme of individual operators and link to a future Chain of Custody Australian Standard which will go beyond resale.
This project will also deliver the required extension and adoption of many other previous investments by FRDC, in particular, industry codes of practice and ESD initiatives.