The Minister was speaking at the launch of the strategy in Aberystwyth.
The Wales Fisheries Strategy, which went out to consultation in December 2007, looks at the future of the industry until 2020 across all sectors of aquaculture, commercial fisheries and recreational fisheries. The strategy is supported by an annually reviewed implementation plan.
The aim of the strategy is to support the development of viable and sustainable fisheries in Wales while safeguarding the environment.
To achieve this a number of goals have been set out which will determine the success of the strategy:
- Environment – fisheries developed and managed in a sustainable way contributing positively to environmental policies of Wales.
- Healthy fish stocks – development and management of fisheries at sustainable levels.
- Positive community role – recognition of fisheries as a positive contribution to the communities of Wales.
- Economic contribution – maximising the economic importance and contribution of fisheries to the development of the ‘Wales’ brand.
- Partnership working – to further the partnership working already established between policy makers, stakeholders and delivery agents for fisheries.
Elin Jones said: "This is Wales’ first ever Fisheries Strategy. It outlines the way ahead and together with the E16m available through the European Fisheries Fund, to be match-funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, and consultation on changes to the management of fisheries it is a step towards securing the future of the industry.
"A sustainable and viable fishing industry needs to be effectively managed and regulated. Until recently the Welsh fishing industry lacked any co-ordinated representational structure and this is an area in which we have already progressed.
"The importance of fisheries must not be underestimated. Sea fishing is one of our oldest industries, and in particular our inshore fisheries provide important employment opportunities in rural areas. The direct benefit of fishing to the economy is approximately 3,500 jobs and £200m income. Tourism is also an increasingly important element of the rural economy and recreational fishing attracts many thousands of visitors to Wales each year.
"The Strategy also recognises the importance of the rapidly developing Welsh aquaculture (fish farming) sector. The sector has attained a skill and knowledge base which is wildly recognised as being at the cutting edge, which has resulted in inward investment, particularly to Anglesey, and there is a real prospect that such further investment could follow.
"The aim of the Strategy is to aid continuing diversity and modernisation of the industry, whilst ensuring the sustainability and viability of the industry against the background of the need to ensure that the aquatic environment is protected. I believe that the strategy will provide the appropriate mechanism as the first step to securing the future of the Welsh fishing industry."