Fisheries Minister Gordon Hill said today that the future of the State's fishing industry was positive as long as its fisheries were managed to preserve future stocks.
On the eve of one of Fremantle's most popular festivals - the annual sardine festival - Mr Hill said Western Australia's seafood industry was well-placed to exploit Asian markets and would be encouraged to do so through the Premier's 'Adding Value' package.
Mr Hill said the `Adding Value' package included plans to double the funds available for Asian trade promotion, remove any regulatory barriers to expanding trade into Asia, and supported the further development of aquaculture and the processing sector in WA.
"Aquaculture, mariculture and value-adding in the fishing industry have the potential to boost the State's $350 million commercial fishery and $100 million aquaculture industry," Mr Hill said.
"The Government has already created the Aquaculture Advisory Council to formulate a development strategy for the industry, has streamlined licence application procedures for aquaculture projects and is actively promoting the development of markets overseas through grants to exporters.
"We are encouraging the commercial fishing industry to expand but unlike the Opposition, the Government is committed to preserving our fish stocks for future generations by careful management of the resource.
"If the Opposition's stance on our fishing industry is anything like their open slather policy in so many other areas, I would fear for future fish stocks in WA.
"The resource is finite and sensitively balanced - it needs to be carefully managed for future generations with conservation of the stock in mind, not plundered purely for profit."