Does 'the local' provide a pathway to revitalizing primary production in regional communities?: A case study of professional fishing on the NSW South coast
Economic development in regional areas is a high priority social and political objective in Australia. Regional and rural coastal towns have suffered as a result of the declining value of primary production from traditional industries, including fishing, farming and forestry. As a result, attention has shifted to alternative employment and revenue sources, especially from service industries such as tourism and hospitality. Using a case study of the New South Wales (NSW) South Coast fishing industry combined with a review of global trends gaining prominence in food systems, we argue that primary industries-like professional fishing-are now well positioned to foster a revival in rural and regional communities. Consumer interest in food provenance and sustainability, a movement towards 'localism', and the growth in food-based tourism have created new opportunities for the sector. The industry will, however, need support from regional development agencies to assist the transition to new business models, and recover from a prolonged, and at times traumatic, period of reform.