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Speech to Seafood Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Resources launch.



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20 April 2007

Seafood Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Resources Launch

Thank you Ted [Mr Ted Loveday, Managing Director, Seafood Services Australia] and good morning ladies and gentlemen.

I think it’s wonderful that we are launching the Seafood Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Resources at the Sydney Fish Markets this morning.

With the smells and sounds of fresh seafood being sold around us at the market today, I can think of no better place to be talking about Australia’s seafood industry.

And it is good to see so many industry representatives here following yesterday’s 4th National EMS Summit.

The EMS Summits provide an opportunity for EMS project participants to come together to share information, experiences and to look ahead at future opportunities for the industry.

I was pleased to hear that yesterday’s Summit was again a huge success.

Australia’s seafood industry is valuable to Australia - not only the jobs and dollars it brings, but also because seafood is a part of our Australian way of life.

The industry is worth almost $2.5 billion per year, double its value a decade ago.

Much of this growth has happened by adding value to products rather than harvesting more.

Importantly, the seafood industry realises that it must be seen as sustainable - to maintain market access, and it’s resource base, in the future.

The seafood industry has championed EMS since 2001.

It is recognised across the country as a leader in the development and implementation of EMS as an industry tool,

that producers can use to manage environmental risk and demonstrate environmental stewardship.

Australian Government In March last year, Prime Minister John Howard, identified sustainable natural resource

management as one of Australia’s five major challenges.

He went on to say that we have a responsibility to future generations to use our natural resources wisely to achieve prosperity, security and sustainability. This is a responsibility and a journey we all need to share and we all need to be part of the solution.

We are doing this - at all levels of government, with industries, regions and communities, right down to the individual.

The Australian Government has supported the development and uptake of EMS approaches in agriculture, fishing, and forestry industries through partnership programmes such as the EMS National Pilot Programme and the Pathways to Industry EMS Programme.

The seafood industry has been there every step of the way.

The EMS National Pilot programme worked with 15 industry and producer groups to assess how we could use EMS in Australian agriculture, fisheries, forestry and food industries.

The Pathways to Industry EMS programme further built on the information gained from the pilots, to work with industry in developing their own industry-specific approaches to EMS.

The Australian Government’s support for EMS does not stop with the Pilot and Pathways Programmes.

In February this year I announced a new $3.9 million EMS Pathways to Sustainable Agriculture Programme.

This seeks to promote partnerships between industries and regional bodies to develop their capacity to lead and support the broad uptake of EMS in Australian agriculture and will help industries and regional bodies work together and develop an EMS approach within their own infrastructure.

The assessment panel has been considering over 50 applications this week and I look forward to reviewing their recommendations in due course.

Seafood EMS It is amazing to see how far the seafood industry has extended its EMS commitment.

The Seafood EMS Pilot involved six seafood sectors and was an outstanding success.

Each group developed and tested an EMS specific to their sector and regional needs.

I understand that all six groups found there were benefits from being involved in the pilot. These included:

• A greater understanding of business. • Stronger relationship between industry and the community. • And an improved ability to promote and respond to market access issues.

In June 2004, the Seafood industry engaged in a further partnership with the

Australian Government under the Pathways programme.

The industry wanted to improve awareness of the Seafood EMS programme achievements and give greater support to individuals and businesses in their own uptake of EMS.

EMS Resources A range of Seafood EMS resources have previously been developed under the Pilot and Pathways projects, including:

• The Seafood EMS ‘Chooser’ • The Seafood EMS CD ROM • The Seafood EMS Communication Kit

and implementation of the EMS Seafood mentoring programme.

I am aware that the industry’s mentoring programme is proving to be very successful, providing practical advice and first hand assistance to seafood businesses and organisations commencing the EMS journey.

I understand that approximately 50 groups have participated in the mentoring programme.

Well done on the success of this programme within your industry.

And now, through this launch today, we are seeing additional resources for the Seafood Industry, such as

• Recipes for success - which provides a good overview and will enable others to learn from the experiences of the Seafood EMS pilot groups; • Walking the Talk - this booklet provides greater detail on the pilot groups through a number of EMS Case Studies; • and the Self-Assessment and EMS Workbooks - which will assist others to

develop an EMS - and put it into practice!

These Seafood EMS Resources are very impressive, and I would like to congratulate those who were involved in working on these projects.

The Resources are available to help anyone interested in tapping into the ideas and experience of those who have been down the EMS road before.

The resource workbooks provide detailed advice; instructions and exercises to assist producers in tailoring EMS to their own businesses.

So, why are the Seafood EMS Resources so valuable?

Because they demystify the EMS process.

They help industry understand and manage environmental issues.

And they put individual businesses and industry in a strong position for the future.

This is a practical package.

It will help seafood industry groups who are planning to implement EMS practices - and assist them in communicating their achievements to industry, government and the community.

The message of Seafood EMS is simple - if you wish to come on board then you no longer need to go it alone.

The Seafood model is recognised internationally as being at the cutting edge of EMS Implementation, as evidenced by the recent negotiations with the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, to deliver EMS in the Irish Inshore Fishing Sector.

This is a significant achievement for the Australian seafood industry.

And your commitment confirms to me, that an industry driven approach to EMS is the right way to go.

Pilot booklet Similar to the case studies approach taken by Seafood Services Australia, I would like to take this opportunity to release the ‘Systems in Action’ - EMS national pilot programme booklet.

This booklet has been developed in consultation with the EMS pilot projects and I would like to publicly thank all those involved in the pilots for your input to this booklet and for allowing us to tell your story.

This booklet brings to life the experiences of those involved in each of the pilots.

It identifies what worked and what didn’t and details some of the things that new comers may wish to avoid.

So - in line with the 8th step of the Seafood EMS process - I would like to encourage you to celebrate your industries success in EMS and to promote your achievements.

Conclusion Finally, I would like to congratulate all participants in both the EMS Pilot and Pathways to Industry EMS Programmes.

I particularly want to congratulate Seafood Services Australia for showing vibrant leadership and management of the Pilot and Pathways projects within the seafood industry.

And my sincere thanks to you Ted - your drive and commitment to EMS within your own industry and to others through your role within the EMS Advisory Group is respected enormously.

The Seafood Industry has reason to be proud.

It is with great pleasure that I officially launch the Seafood EMS Resources and the ‘Systems in Action‘ EMS National Pilot booklet.

I look forward to talking with many of you individually about your own EMS experiences this morning.

Thank You.