The potential for a new commercial fishery for South Australia involving deep water crabs is one of the first applications to be considered under the State Government’s new Exploratory and Development Fishing Permits process.
PIRSA Director Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy, Sean Sloan, said that regulations introduced in 2013 allow for new and emerging fishing opportunities to be explored and developed in a structured and sustainable way.
“The Government occasionally receives applications seeking permission to investigate the viability of new commercial fishing activities, including harvesting species not currently fished commercially,” Mr Sloan said.
“These new fishery regulations aim to facilitate the ongoing sustainable development of South Australia’s aquatic resources in an open and transparent manner while providing some flexibility for new ventures to be explored.
“Factors that will be considered are the merits of the application against a set of established criteria including ecological sustainability, economic viability, the existing rights of current licence holders and potential effects on other stakeholders.”
The current application proposes to harvest deep water crabs from waters greater than 300 metres off the South Australian coast.
Fishing for crabs at these depths is expected to target Crystal, Snow and Champagne crabs which are sought after by the major export markets of China and Singapore. Giant crabs are already subject to targeted fishing in shelf waters.
“South Australian seafood is sought after world-wide for its premium, clean credentials,” Mr Sloan said.
“Under this new process we can now investigate opportunities to expand our seafood on offer within a sustainable fishing framework prior to considering more permanent arrangements.”
Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) is now seeking public input on the proposed activity as part of its formal assessment process, with comments open until Wednesday 1 July 2015.
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