Industry believe that Australian fishers have sound environmental practices in place and are environmentally conscious. They have not, however, had any way to formally support the belief through a benchmark standard or set of criteria that they can be assessed against. Meanwhile, the public perception is completely different, often with a view that fishers are environmentally irresponsible.
The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) funded a Responsible Fishing project to provide fishers with a benchmark measure to be assessed against, a measure by which to say, “We are doing the right thing - We Responsibly Fish”.
A core problem identified is that most sectors of the commercial fishing industry do not have an appropriate framework under which they can promote their responsible fishing practices to consumers and the general public. The current mechanisms are fragmented. In addition, the cost associated with many of the higher level schemes are beyond the capacity of many fishery sectors, particularly the smaller inshore sectors. This project provides the extension and adoption framework to resolve this problem at the fishery sector, regional or at individual fisher level - no other scheme offers this breadth of scope.
The outcome of this project is an Australian Standard that is both an industry standard and an Australian Standard.
The Australian Standards brand and process is a trusted brand by consumers and seen as being credible, enforceable, and recognised.
FRDC is an accredited Standards Development Organization, the only organisation in the food sector accredited to develop Australian Standards for the seafood industry.
Notable improvements in community perceptions of the Australian commercial fishing industry are occurring through a concerted media drive promoting the credibility and integrity of the Standard and related industry-fishing practices.