Seafood Industry Victoria is the representative peak body for the Victorian seafood industry, from professional fishers, through to wholesalers, processors and retailers.
SIV is the leading voice on Victoria’s seafood industry, and responds on the industry's behalf - communicating and ensuring the flow of information between industry, fisheries stakeholder groups and communities.
SIV works to build and inform a united, ecologically sustainable and thriving industry valued by Victorian communities. SIV works on principles of collaboration, equity and access, so that Victorian seafood can be enjoyed by everyone. Central to our industry is striving for the highest sustainability standards and using the best available science to manage fisheries. SIV represents industry’s interests across a range of forums including fisheries legislation and management, licensing and resource access issues, marine, freshwater and coastal environmental issues, native title, research and development, safety, education and training for the seafood industry, media and public relations, and the promotion of seafood.
Working together for sustainability, equity and fairness
The marine environment from which our industry harvests seafood is a multi-user environment. SIV strongly believes that all relevant marine stakeholders be involved in making decisions for the use of Victoria’s shared marine spaces, and shared access to resources that belong to the Victorian public. This requires fair, equitable and transparent consultation, negotiation and decision-making processes.
SIV works closely with State and Federal Government sectors, the Victorian Fisheries Authority, environmental and community groups, scientists and academics, other marine users (particularly VRFish), and Victorian communities, on behalf of our members’ best interests.
Our relationships underpin our work and are crucial to meeting our vision for a sustainable and thriving Victorian seafood industry. Through working together, we can work to ensure Victorian local seafood stays on the menu, that the health and sustainability of the marine environment is managed for future generations, and support remains for the families, small businesses and coastal communities who depend on marine resources.
victorian seafood for everyone
Securing access for professional fishers Approximately 85% of Australians do not catch their own fish. Instead they rely on the professional sector to supply a wide range of seafood products throughout the year. Victorian professional fisheries provide consumers with a wonderful source of fresh, local and sustainable product.
The primary focus for SIV is to safeguard the Victorian Seafood Industry and secure access to marine resources for the industry and for seafood consumers.
Without secure access to professional fisheries, this source of nutritious and local product would not be available to the public. The insecurity of fishing access rights can have devastating effects on hard-working families who have been fishing for generations, small businesses and rural communities who depend on fisheries for their livelihoods, and for whom fishing is a way of life.
Sustainability and the environment
A commitment to ecological sustainability The Victorian fishing industry is committed to ecological sustainability, and sharing of marine resources among stakeholders. This not only protects the ecosystems fishers rely on, but also protects the livelihoods of fishers themselves in the long term.
SIV believes that the best way to ensure a sustainable future for the marine environment, fisheries resources and Victoria's professional fishers is to use the best available science and use collaborative and equitable processes to manage fisheries. Evidence-based and science-based decisions must be made to ensure transparency and acceptability of fisheries management.
Victorian professional fisheries are legislated under the Victorian Fisheries Act 1995. Professional fisheries are managed through strict input and output controls. Input controls include: limits on the numbers of fishing access licences, gear restrictions, seasonal closures and limits on time fishing. Output controls restrict the fish that can be harvested from a particular fishery and these measures include: quota systems, total allowable catch targets, and bycatch limits. There are annual fisheries management meetings between SIV, fishers, the Victorian Fisheries Authority managers, fisheries scientists and other stakeholders to discuss the status of individual fisheries and assess any management changes that are needed, such as changes to the amount of fish that can be caught each year. Independent scientific analysis and modeling is used to determine limits. Harvest strategies form an essential part of sustainable fisheries management and explicitly set out the objectives, performance indicators, reference levels and harvest control rules.
Over and beyond this, Victorian professional fishers have proactively adopted voluntary measures as an additional sustainability safeguard, and to reduce conflict with other marine users. These include; voluntary codes of practice, environmental management systems (EMS provides a systematic approach to recognising, assessing and mitigating environmental risks facing the fishery), and self imposed closures or restrictions. Examples include:
The Status of Australian Fish Stocks brings together available biological, catch and effort information to determine the status of Australia’s key wild catch fish stocks against a nationally agreed reporting framework.
SAFS provides a scientifically robust and simple tool to inform fishers, seafood consumers, managers, policy makers and the broader community about the status of the key wild-caught fish stocks around Australia. Many of the main target fish species are assessed in the report, and are broken down to the specific fishery in each state. Over one hundred leading Australian fisheries researchers produced the species chapters in 2018 and a further forty scientists anonymously reviewed these.
Of the Australian catch reported in the Status of Australian fish stocks reports 2018, 90.5 per cent is from sustainable stocks, 3.1 per cent is from transitional–depleting stocks, 4.6 per cent is from transitional–recovering stocks, 0.8 per cent is from overfished stocks, 1 per cent is from undefined stocks and 0.00 per cent is from the stocks classed as negligible
This is extraordinary when compared on the global stage, and a testament to the environmental stewardship of Australian fishers and good management of fisheries. Acknowledging that Australia has not always had an enviable fisheries record, in the past decade decisive action has been taken to address overfishing and inappropriate fishing practices, which has resulted in the significant recovery of depleted fish stocks.
The professional fishing industry is highly engaged in fisheries science. Fishermen provide essential data every time they go to sea; recording their catch, how much time they spend at sea, where they fish, and the type/amount of gear used. These data are used to monitor the status of fish stocks and are used as indicators for marine ecosystem health. Fishers are also engaged as partners and provide essential information and data for Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) projects. These projects are on a range of topics, including: improving understanding of the biology of species and interactions within marine ecosystems, improving ecological management and sustainability of fisheries, disease in marine species, habitat regeneration, new technologies, bycatch reduction strategies, and the impacts of climate change. Check out our recent and current projects below.
S SIV encourages researchers and organisations to engage with the Victorian fishing industry to collaborate on research and practical projects. The most recent projects SIV has been collaborating on, and support are:
'Practicing Aquatic Animal Welfare' (FRDC 2019-023). This FRDC funded research focuses on the obstacles to, and drivers of, positive practice change relating to aquatic animal welfare (AAW) in Australia’s wild-catch commercial fishing and finfish aquaculture sectors. It was conducted between December 2019 and March 2022 in response to growing societal expectations that production animals, including fish and crustaceans, be treated humanely and the need to understand how the Australian seafood industry can, and should, respond.
'Valuing Victoria's Wild-catch fisheries and aquaculture industries' (FRDC 2017-092). To address a significant gap in knowledge, the project is designed to identify and measure the economic and social contributions that flow from Victoria’s professional fisheries (wild-catch and aquaculture) into regional and metropolitan communities. In the absence of such data, local professional fisheries have been unable to demonstrate the range and value of fisheries benefits to society’s well being, and thus gain visibility and support from the Victorian public, governments and other stakeholders and decision-makers. It has also meant there has been no information about the likely impacts of fisheries policy and management decisions on Victorian communities, or of potential opportunities for improving sustainable growth in fisheries.
‘Catch the Drift: Leadership and development training for the next generation in the commercial and aquaculture industry’ (FRDC 2016-401). Catch the Drift is a new project focusing on the people in the Victorian seafood industry- building capacity, leadership skills and knowledge, ensuring future leaders of industry leaders are equipped, whether that be at the local, regional, state or national level. SIV are co-investigators on the project with Rural Training Initiatives.
‘Protect your catchment, protect your catch: a collaborative initiative to boost fishery productivity in Corner Inlet’ (FRDC 2016-254). This project, led by Dr John Ford at Mezo Research, built upon the FRDC project 2013-021, which identified that the productivity of the Corner Inlet fishery is under threat from seagrass loss due to poor water quality flowing from the surrounding catchment. The project was successful in creating strong inter-industry connections within the catchment and worked to build momentum to improve catchment management, water quality and ultimately fish habitat. In November 2016, a showcase event, “Protect your catchment, protect your catch”, was held in Port Albert, bringing together the most important industries of the South Gippsland rural economy – farming, tourism and fishing - to convey the importance of the government making investment to improve water quality and protect fish habitat.
‘Sustainable Fishing Families: Developing industry human capital through health, wellbeing, safety and resilience’ (FRDC 2016-400). This project, started in 2016, will provide rigorous research and critical national data on the mental health of commercial fishers, while also developing and piloting a practical program to address the specific health requirements of fishers and their families. Sustainable Fishing Families is an investment in the long term viability of the industry’s most valuable asset: the people. The project is led by Dr Tanya King at Deakin University, and Co-investigators include the National Centre for Farmer Health, University of Tasmania, and Exeter University.
'The social drivers and implications of an ecological risk assessment of both recreational and commercial fishing — A case study from Port Phillip Bay' (FRDC 2014/207). The project was undertake to: understand the full range of issues underpinning resource sharing by commercial, recreational and other stakeholders in Port Phillip Bay fisheries; develop a framework for assessing the social and ecological issues in Port Phillip Bay fisheries; undertake a qualitative ecological risk assessment (ERA) of the Port Phillip Bay fishery, including both the commercial and recreational sectors; identify significant ecological risks to fisheries in Port Phillip Bay; and, make recommendations for improved cross-sectoral management of Port Phillip Bay fishery resources.
Some of the key findings of the work are: “The literature review and social study revealed that for all user groups, their greatest concerns were external to fishing and related to effects of pollution, land based activities, and exotic marine pests on Port Phillip Bay’s ecology.” “The social research further found that most of the overt conflict between users was restricted to a relatively small group of recreational fishers opposed to commercial fishers”, which reveals that there are very few people who have overt and explicit concerns about commercial net fishing. “most had greater concerns regarding the culture and behaviours of recreational fishers, and the increasing number of them, as a priority over any commercial fishing activities.” “Both the ERA and the social study supported that the greatest risks identified for all fisheries in Port Phillip Bay were external to fishing, including pollution, urban development and introduced species.”
‘Optimising processes and policy to minimise business and operational impacts of seismic surveys on the fishing industry and oil and gas industry’ (FRDC 2013-209). Finishing up in 2016, SIV was the principle investigator on this research project which made recommendations on how the fishing and oil and gas industries can work together in the planning future operations and exploration. The co-investigators included Ian Knuckey and Chris Calogeras, of Fishwell Consulting and C-AID consultants respectively.
The recommendations included: an easy to use central website-based information on the two industry’s associated communication processes; undertaking Roundtable discussions and feedback into overarching policy and process; holding annual regional stakeholder meetings to discuss future planning and issues; and, undertaking one-on-one industry/individual discussions. An associated project, Assessing the impact of marine seismic surveys on southeast Australian scallop and lobster fisheries (FRDC 2012-008), presents a ground-breaking analysis that provides evidence of 'significant' detrimental impacts of seismic testing on scallops and rock lobster.