Australian government investing millions in new technologies to support fishers

The Australian government is investing AUD 20 million (USD 15.6 million, EUR 12.9 million) into technologies that will ensure best fishing practices are implmented across the country.

Last week, Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud introduced the AUD 9.95 million (USD 7.75 million, EUR 6.42 million) E-Fish initiative and the AUD 10.1 million (USD 7.87 million, EUR 6.52 million) E-Monitoring program, which he said “would boost innovation and lower compliance costs for hundreds of Commonwealth fishers.”

“Leading-edge, fit-for-purpose data systems will deliver cheaper and more efficient services to commercial fishers,” Littleproud said. “Australian fishers work hard to ensure they fish within catch limits and environmental standards that are now amongst the best in the world.” 

The new initiative, he said, will streamline the current data collection process and allow for more flexible operations at a lower cost.

“The E-Monitoring program will improve and expand the existing Commonwealth electronic monitoring into additional Commonwealth fisheries,” Littleproud said.

E-fish and E-monitoring are part of an AUD 120 million (USD 94 million, EUR 78 million) package to reduce red tape and regulatory burdens across the Australian economy.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said the new initiative is the “most ambitious, advantageous, and forward-leaning information management upgrade across the fisheries industry in decades, and will future-proof it for decades to come.”

E-Fish, he said, will make it easier for the industry to meet traceability and provenance requirements.

“E-Monitoring will deliver a cost-effective, streamlined, simplified, and faster approach to vessel management and reporting that will save fishers time and money,” Duniam said.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton said around 1,360 fishing-related businesses from Western Australia Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, and Australian Capital Territory will benefit from E-Fish and E-Monitoring.

“Moving to an integrated electronic system and providing AFMA’s regulatory service functions digitally will drive the Australian government deregulation agenda, leveraging the latest technologies to reduce the regulatory burden placed on Commonwealth and Torres Strait fishers,” Morton said.

The investment was welcomed by trade group Seafood Industry Australia, with SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta saying the new initiatives will be a boon for fishers across the country.

“The E-Fish initiative and the E-Monitoring programs which have been announced will boost innovation and lower the compliance costs for hundreds of Commonwealth fishers,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. “The streamlining of these processes will reduce red tape and regulatory burden for fishers while allowing industry to remain at the forefront of the world’s best fishing practices.”

Commonwealth Fisheries Association Chair George Kailis also welcomed the new initiative, touting its sustainability benefits.

“Investment in innovative data capture and handling technology is especially welcome.  A world-class, integrated data system will strengthen Australian seafood traceability and provenance credentials, with the potential to find new markets for our products,” Kailis said. “Importantly, this system will provide the Australian public with increased confidence around environmental and regulatory credentials of Commonwealth-managed fisheries.”  

Photo courtesy of the Australian Government


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