Grants projects improve Marine Park health and sustainable fishing

Media release

3 September 2019

Australia’s peak fishing groups are embarking on a $5 million program of activity that supports Australia’s Marine Parks networks and promotes sustainable fishing.

The projects are being delivered through the first round of the Australian Government’s Our Marine Parks Grants program and include sustainable certification for fisheries, the development of new technologies, and the improvement of gear types.

Grants were announced in April this year to eight organisations across 12 projects which are now nearing their implementation phase.

In NSW, the Professional Fishermen’s Association (PFA) is working with marine users and fishers to protect humpback whales. In spring this year they will trial new fishing gear to reduce interaction and possible entanglement of whales.

The PFA is also supporting 15 fisheries to evaluate their sustainability against Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) criteria, to identify those suitable to undergo full MSC assessment.

One of Australia’s largest tuna fisheries, the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF), has commenced work on a new sustainability certification.

Achieving certification with recognised industry leaders like the MSC is a significant step in raising awareness of Australia’s world-class fisheries management, and the importance of resilient marine ecosystems for a thriving economy.

In Australia’s Top End, the Northern Prawn Fishery Industry Pty Ltd (NPF) is working to reduce by-catch of endangered species of sawfish. NPF have begun trials on two ships where cameras have been fitted to record interactions with trawl nets. The video will help them develop technologies to help protect four species of endangered sawfish.

I am enormously excited by the work that all grant recipients are undertaking and look forward to bringing news of their progress as these programs get underway.

The successful grant recipients were:

  • Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation
  • Great Australian Bight Fishing Industry Association
  • Northern Prawn Fishery Industry
  • Northern Territory Seafood Council
  • Professional Fishermen’s Association
  • Seafood Industry Australia
  • Tuna Australia
  • Western Australian Fishing Industry Council.

Parks Australia manages 58 Australian Marine Parks to protect offshore marine habitats and species and enable ecologically sustainable use of our marine resources.  Managing our unique marine environment is a complex task and Australia takes a world-class approach, implementing rigorous fisheries management and the world’s largest representative marine protected area network.

Our Marine Parks Grants are administered by Parks Australia to support industry-led initiatives that will result in improvements in sustainable practices in Australian Marine Parks. A second grant round will by early 2020, and will be available to a wider range of marine park user groups, to encourage and support greater involvement in marine park management.

For more information on the Our Marine Parks Grants program and the activities underway under its first round, visit parksaustralia.gov.au/our-marine-parks-grants

Minister for the Environment