The Australian parliament has ordered an official inquiry into the state of the country’s aquaculture industry.
A number of politicians fear the sector could be starting to stagnate. Fish farming in Australia is both extensive and varied, and has experienced steady growth over the past since 2002, but its annual worth has plateaued at just over AUS $1bn (£0.56bn) in the last few years.
Now the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee says it wants to find out why through an inquiry.
It says the inquiry will investigate the status of the sector, including ways to streamline and increase the effectiveness of current regulatory frameworks, as well as the ability of business to access and commercialise new innovations.
Rick Wilson, chairman of the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee explained: “Australia has a well-deserved reputation for producing high quality, sustainable seafood, with aquaculture products accounting for over 40 per cent of Australian seafood production in terms of value.
“Increasing consumer demand for Australian native species, together with internationally recognised seafood quality and standards, means that Australian aquaculture is competitively positioned to access high value domestic and overseas markets.”
He added: “The Committee will be examining opportunities and barriers to the expansion of the sector, including the ability of enterprise to access capital and investment.”
Australians are avid consumers of seafood and the busiest places on Christmas Eve are the country’s big city fish markets. The country cultivates several types of farmed fish including Atlantic salmon in Tasmania, southern Bluefin tuna, barramundi, crabs and shrimp.
The committee says it will accept submissions up to the middle of May.