This year, the State’s marine scalefish industry, the oldest industry in South Australia, is celebrating its 185th anniversary in style with a series of events and promotions aimed at showcasing the industry, its heritage, its sustainability and, most importantly, the local fishers who supply all South Australians with local wild caught fish and who are at the centre of support for our regional, coastal communities.
Speaking on the launch of the industry’s celebrations, Dr Gary Morgan, the Executive Officer of the Marine Fisher’s Association, said the importance of the industry to local regional coastal economies cannot be over-stated, adding that the fishery is the "social and economic lifeblood of many communities'' with most being family-owned businesses operating in much the same way as their forebears.
Dr Morgan said despite having the third largest sea area in the World, Australia now imports over 70 per cent of its seafood requirements, much of it from unsustainable resources.
"Buying local fish whose stocks are managed to ensure long-term sustainability, ticks all the boxes – supporting local communities and businesses, supporting sustainable fisheries and being able to enjoy the benefits of eating some of the finest and freshest seafood in the world at reasonable prices,'' he said.
The fishery, which is currently undergoing a Government-initiated restructure designed to continue to ensure the sustainability of fish stocks as well as improving the industry’s economic performance, operates from small boats in coastal waters, supplying local and interstate markets with SA’s iconic fish species including snapper, King George whiting, garfish, squid and other local species.
Dr Morgan emphasised; “sustainability - of fish stocks as well as fishing businesses – is at the centre of everything we do”, adding “having been around for 185 years, our industry knows the oceans and how to ensure sustainability for future generations”.
Events planned for the 185th anniversary celebrations include an extensive advertising campaign urging SA consumers to ‘buy local’, working with chefs to develop new ways of enjoying local fish species and having local fishers involved in community events throughout the State.
Dr Morgan concluded by advising everyone “to look out for our posters and labels at your local fish retail outlet to ensure that you are getting fresh, wild-caught, local and sustainable fish – the best in the world”.