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Compliance programs complement the sustainable development of the South Australian Aquaculture Industry

Peter R. Lauer*, Andrew Carr, Peter Dietman, Jade Davison, Luke Fraser
PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture
GPO Box 1625
Adelaide, South Australia, 5001

Throughout the implementation of the Aquaculture Act 2001, the Department of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA) Fisheries and Aquaculture Division has maintained engagement with a broad range of stakeholders - from environmentalists, local communities, aquaculture operators, fishermen, research providers and resources managers - which has resulted in a thorough, transparent and relevant approach to aquaculture management.

Key to this process is demonstrating the efforts of the regulators that are made to ensure compliance of aquaculture operators with legislation. PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture’s environmental and compliance units are coordinating the implementation of a revamped system for the West Coast oyster industry before rolling out the new system in other oyster and mussel leases and all aquaculture sectors.

The amalgamation of Fisheries and Aquaculture divisions of PIRSA in 2010 created an opportunity to introduce uniform and improved strategic education & awareness, effective deterrence and appropriate enforcement programs. This three-phase model has been used successfully in the commercial fishing industry in South Australia to provide a clear framework to promote some of the nation’s most sustainable fisheries.

Using these 3 strategies, which are risk-based and outcome-driven, a uniform environmental and compliance framework is now being applied across both sectors.  This supports a more efficient and cost effective focused approach within current resource allocations. Broadly, the compliance approach promotes voluntary compliance and provides an effective deterrent to assist aquaculture operators to comply with aspects of their operations, including marking requirements using navigational marks, stocking rates of sites and stock register records.
Education is at the forefront of this approach, which includes both on-site compliance visits, as well as broad-scale communication with licence holders. Communication tools that are used by PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, range in scale of audience from individual letters to licence holders regarding compliance issue to a regular newsletter, Aquascope.

The multi strategy and integrated approach is a way to help safeguard aquaculture industries – from oysters and mussels to finfish and tuna farming – as well as the broader community’s interests in South Australia’s aquatic resources.