May 10, 2011
Australian seafood exporters express frustration
Australian seafood exporters are exasperated because they are not able to have a federal government certificate to prove that their catch is sustainable.
Roy Palmer, who heads the industry's publicity arm, Australian Seafood Experience, said fishermen have complied, at considerable expense, with the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
However, he said the government will not let them use a label that indicates they have not fished threatened species.
Palmer said it means Australian seafood has trouble accessing the lucrative European market.
"You know it is one of those things with the environment, once you understand and meet all the criteria, then they will start wanting to change the rules," he said.
"We are doing everything right and they still do not want to give us a label for that particular product, which I think is quite outrageous."
Palmer has just attended the world's largest seafood expo in Brussels, where he also pressed the EU Maritime and Fisheries Commissioner to lower trade barriers and tariffs.
The commissioner's reply was "There is a long way to go regarding tariff and duty issues, so unfortunately I have no easy answer for you."