Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Government Whip) (11:22): On the 18th and 19th of this month—only last week—I had our new Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries in Port Lincoln, which is one of the gems of seafood production in Australia. We toured Tony’s Tuna and observed the processing, and then we met with the tuna industry—all of the owners of the licences—and talked through a number of issues that they need to face. We went and met with the people from the abalone industry and the rock lobster industry. The next day we went out to the tuna pens and witnessed the harvesting procedures. I must say this is very important for a minister, because this is an international industry. It relies on international quotas. It relies on trust between the nations who are signatories to those quotas. So for the minister to actually understand what we do on the ground is very important.
We took extra time while we were in Port Lincoln to meet with the Great Australian Bight trawler industry, which supplies 90 per cent of the fresh seafood into Adelaide markets. I’m sure you’d be quite well known to some of these people, Mr Deputy Speaker Georganas. They come from your culture. In this case, they were Greek families that came from Thevenard and had built wonderful industries. They have a lot of different concerns, but to once again have the minister there to talk through their challenges and opportunities for the future was a really good thing.
We went on and met with the sardine industry. There was a fair bit of discussion around pelagic fish in this place a few years ago, let me say, but these people are the ones that are harvesting the sardines for our tuna industry. That’s the raw feed. It’s interesting that we hark back to those debates about supertrawlers. People in the industry think that maybe the public misunderstood what they were about. We are harvesting sardines that are only suitable for animal consumption at the moment, when they could be suitable for human consumption if we could process them and freeze them on the vessel. That is probably a grave mistake. But it’s something that can perhaps be addressed in the future. But right across the board there was a real determination and enthusiasm to tap into the international markets so we can add value to the tonnage that we are already capturing, and a real commitment to ensure that these fisheries are sustainable and will be yielding outcomes for Australians for generations to come.