WA welcomes FTA with China as great news on World Fisheries Day

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Rock lobster Image credit: flickr User: Rexness

Fisheries Minister Ken Baston welcomed the announcement of Australia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China during his speech on World Fisheries Day on Friday.

Rock lobster Image credit: flickr User: Rexness
Rock lobster
Image credit: flickr User: Rexness

“With tariffs on Australian seafood being phased out over four years under this FTA, our exporters will be able to compete on a more level playing field with countries like New Zealand, which already has an agreement with China,” he said.

According to the media release by the Minister, 97% of the WA’s fish stocks that support commercial and recreational fisheries are sustainable, which means that the sector will continue to be viable.

The Minister also revealed that the most sought-after commercial fish are rock lobster, prawns and abalone, along with pink snapper and red emperor, while the most sought-after recreational fish are dhufish and pink snapper, blue swimmer crabs, whiting, rock lobster, abalone and marron.

WA’s Department of Fisheries continues to maintain high standards and accountability for the sustainable use of the State’s fish resources by recreational and commercial fishers.

The department collaborates with the WA Fishing Industry Council and Recfishwest in order to ensure sustainability and to tackle environmental challenges.

“West Australians are vitally interested in the health of the marine environment and the fisheries that depend on it,” the Minister said.

Other achievements include:

  • The $14.5 million initiative to achieve independent third-party certification for many of the State’s key commercial fisheries that already deliver sustainable seafood;
  • Western Rock Lobster Fishery becoming the first fishery in the world to earn Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) endorsement;
  • The Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay prawn fisheries now going through the process towards MSC certification, with more WA fisheries to follow next year.

“So, in WA on World Fisheries Day, people can drop a line or buy some local seafood, secure in the knowledge that our State’s fisheries are sustainable world-leading fisheries,” the Minister said.