Time in the seafood industry
I am a relative new-comer to the seafood industry – my involvement commenced in September 2015 when I was appointed by the Prime Minister as the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. One of my key ministerial responsibilities is that the management of Australia’s Commonwealth fisheries. In fact, one of my very first ministerial engagements was attending the Seafood Directions conference in 2015.
What I love about my role
The seafood industry is one of the foundations of Australian society. The sector represents a wealth of dedicated, hardworking professionals who are committed to ensuring Australians have access to high quality, sustainable sourced seafood. I love the passion shown by those who work in the sector. Every time I meet with the industry, I learn something new. What is important is that the government continues to support the industry. Government should be about backing industry to back itself. Businesses should be provided with every opportunity to grow and develop, free from unnecessary government regulation. My role is to help facilitate this progress, and assist the sector in reaching its own goals and objectives.
Thoughts about the industry
We should be rightly proud of our global reputation as a world leader in fisheries management – underscored by the fact that, for the fourth consecutive year, no solely managed Commonwealth fisheries is subject to over fishing. There is great scope for the industry to leverage the affinity the Australian public has with seafood. Our love of fish and chips on a Friday night or great tasting Aussie prawns over Christmas are just two examples. We must also be vigilant against those environmental NGOs who seek an end to commercial fishing, as evidenced in the current debate on marine parks.