Australia's aquaculture industry is on track to triple its production to $2.5 billion and create 29,000 new jobs by 2010, Fisheries Minister Senator Ian Macdonald announced.
Senator Macdonald's comments follow his final meeting August 11 with the Australian Aquaculture Industry Action Agenda's Implementation Committee.
The Action Agenda has already delivered this important and growing industry a number of significant benefits, including:
- the National Aquaculture Policy Statement and the National Aquaculture web portal - http://www.australian-aquacultureportal.com/;
- the Indigenous Aquaculture Unit, and funding for projects to help Indigenous communities become more involved in aquaculture;
- the Primary Industry Ministerial Council endorsing a paper on how to encourage a culture of 'best practice' in aquaculture development;
- AQUAPLAN 2005-2010;
- reports on key issues including: the Australian Aquaculture Research and Innovation Strategy; Assessment and Reporting of the Ecologically Sustainable Development of Australian Aquaculture and Making the Most of Education, Training and Workplace Opportunities for the Australian Aquaculture Industry; and
- a comprehensive report to provide industry with a greater understanding of the benefits premium branding.
Senator Macdonald said the Australian Government has provided $3.5 million over the past two years to help get the Action Agenda up-and-running.
"It's now time for industry to take up the running and ensure aquaculture stays on target to triple its production and create thousands of new jobs by 2010," he said.
"The National Aquaculture Council - Australia's peak body representing aquaculture - has developed a comprehensive Action Plan to help make that happen. And, to help ensure a smooth transition, the Australian Government has earmarked $100,000 this financial year to help the Council implement the Action Plan.
"Australian aquaculture is a strong and increasingly sophisticated industry that is helping fill the growing shortfall between declining wild-catch stocks and increasing consumer demand.
"It is also one of our fastest growing primary industries with the potential to create significant new job opportunities, mostly in regional and rural areas. This will help boost regional infrastructure and provide farming and Indigenous communities with access to alternative sources of income."
More information on the Action Agenda is available on the Australian Aquaculture Portal web site: www.australian-aquacultureportal.com