Commercial rock lobster and abalone fishers will no longer be required to obtain a PrimeSafe licence under a proposed new exemption from the Andrews Labor Government.
The proposed change comes after ongoing investigatory work revealed the current regulations are disproportionate to the food safety risks from rock lobster and abalone fishing.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford announced the changes while meeting with AFCOL Australia in Mallacoota.
The changes will make the regulation of rock lobster and abalone fishers in Victoria consistent with other states, and similar to the regulation of the handling of other live seafood such as finfish and yabbies, reducing unnecessary red tape without affecting food safety outcomes or compromising market access.
Victoria exported $162 million worth of rock lobster and abalone in 2016-17, an increase of more than 70 per cent over five years.
Amendments to the Seafood Safety Regulations 2014 will exempt rock lobster and abalone fishers from the requirement to be licensed by PrimeSafe.
PrimeSafe is the independent regulator of the Victorian meat and seafood industries. By licensing producers, processors, manufacturers and distributors in these industries, PrimeSafe ensures that national food safety standards are met, safeguarding Victoria’s food safety system and growing market access opportunities.
Abalone and rock lobster fishers will continue to be required to comply with the relevant Primary Production and Processing Standards in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
The exemptions are expected to come into effect on 1 July 2018.
Quotes attributable to Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford
“Our East Gippsland region is home to producing quality rock lobster and abalone, and we will continue to enjoy this remarkable and quality seafood under these new regulations.”
“Exempting rock lobster and abalone fishers from this licencing requirement cuts red tape and reduces costs for Victorian producers.”
“A proportionate, risk-based approach to regulation, supported by PrimeSafe, is essential to maintain Victoria’s reputation for producing safe red meat, poultry and seafood.”
Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing
“With Victoria’s global reputation for high quality seafood, it is crucial we have the right practices and regulations in place to enable the industry to flourish and supply the world’s growing demand.”