Our fishing industry & our waters

South Australia's marine life is globally-unique and must be protected.

Around 80% of marine life found in SA waters is not found anywhere else on Earth, with our marine environments more diverse and unique in many ways than the Great Barrier Reef.

South Australian marine waters support more than 6000 invertebrate species, 350 fish species, 16 breeding seabird species, 33 mammal species, 1200 algae species and 12 seagrass species.  Our rich diversity of marine life is a result of the unique south-facing coastline, varying oceanographic conditions and the wide variety of coastal and marine environments.

The Marine Park system in South Australia was introduced in 2012 with the aim of conserving marine biodiversity and habitat, within four levels of protection. 

Since their introduction, South Australia’s marine parks have not been without controversy.  In fact, it has been a vexed issue amongst competing stakeholder groups. 

SA-BEST recognised early on the challenges in striking the right balance between protecting our marine environment and growing the opportunities this brings for marine-based tourism, whilst recognising the critical importance of our world-class, sustainably managed fishing industry.

No political party has invested more time and effort the SA-BEST in working closely with representatives from across the fishing industry in order to understand what unites it, what divides it and what can best assist it.  The same can also be said for the level of commitment we have demonstrated to other sectors with whom the fishing industry has historically competed, namely the conservation sectors. 

Following the last election, SA-BEST committed to working collaboratively with the environmental sector and the fishing sector to get the right balance in the lead up to the 2022 statutory 10-year review.  And we did! 

The result secured an unprecedent, multi-partisan agreement between the fishing sector, the conservation sector and all sides of politics. This includes no further expansion of the revised marine park network during the statutory review period scheduled for later this year and non-invasive commercial harvesting of abalone within an established marine park.       

So where to from here for the fishing industry?

The fishing industry continues to make an invaluable contribution to the South Australian economy and its regions, as well as to the state’s reputation as a seafood destination point, nationally and internationally.  It is the backbone of many of our world-renowned regions.      

There are a myriad of issues government ought to be addressing to ensure the fishing industry’s continued viability and the flow on effects that has for the state’s economy. During these challenging times, industries which are the backbone of our community - and especially our regions - should not be hamstrung by unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy. 

We remain committed to continuing to work closely with all sectors of the fishing industry to find practical and workable solutions to the challenges it faces - especially when it comes to delivering more balanced, streamlined and efficient fisheries management practices, compliance regimes and cost recovery models.

The SA-BEST team will always be guided by experts with firsthand experience rather than political ideology when it comes to finding such common ground and sensible solutions.  This includes experts from within the fishing industry itself - it's a tried and tested model and it works!

And while we do not hold the government purse strings, we remain in a unique and enviable position of holding governments to account for their decision-making and advocating fearlessly for industry sectors that create jobs and security, including your own.