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Over the Easter long weekend, the SSPWA Team traveled southward to participate in the 2019 Albany Festival of the Sea, which offered a wonderful opportunity for our representatives to put locally sourced seafood on show to the local community.

Don Nicholls, Executive Officer for the SSPWA was charged with the microphone to MC the annual event and made full use of the opportunity by promoting the importance of local industry. He expertly highlighted the value of local producers, both land and sea based, and the vital nature of fresh, sustainable and local seafood provision.

With microphone in one hand, and filleting knife in the other, Don hosted multiple filleting demonstrations throughout the festival, with community members frequently approaching Don with questions about how best to select, store, fillet and prepare their seafood. In conjunction with Don Hancey and Peter Manifis whose expert chef skills were on display, it made for a tantalizingly tasty affair!

Around the corner, Bryn Westerberg and his team dressed in matching garb served up locally sourced Australian Salmon, Herring and Sardines with chips. Bryn made a splash with his billboards showcasing each species, their health properties and their sustainability, providing the community with the peace of mind in selecting the most environmentally friendly protein available at the festival.

Parry Beach Salmon also made their mark on the festival. Their striking branding made an impact, as did their fantastic stall selling locally caught Australian Salmon.

The SSPWA Educational stand was also a hit, with over 100 people stopping by for a yarn about what their experiences were with the commercial fishing industry and how they value their local industry. We took the opportunity to launch a survey to gauge what the community perceptions were within the regional community of Albany, which had over 90 responses during the festival. The results are outlined below:

The results of the survey truly highlight the united support within the community for our seafood producers. We had some terrific discussions on what the commercial fishing industry means to people. One conversation between Basia and two young women was a real standout. They described that they had a real sense of duty to limit their impact on the environment regarding consumption of goods and embarked on a researching mission to see what they could do to address their own consumption. They noted that prior to conducting their research, they hadn’t considered the low carbon footprint that the local fishing industry has in the provision of protein when compared with other industries. They have since made the effort to source local, fresh seafood on a more regular basis.

The SSPWA also launched a petition requesting that the Legislative Assembly “preserve the right of Western Australian seafood consumers to access local seafood through enshrining secure access rights to commercial fishers along the Southern and South West Coast of Western Australia, preserving existing, and growing new jobs and economic growth within regional communities. Additionally, ensuring fresh, local seafood for the enjoyment of all citizens and visitors to Western Australia”. The petition gathered a high amount of support at the Festival and remains in circulation.

Overall, the Albany Festival of the Sea offered a plethora of opportunity for SSPWA and our producers to engage with the local community, who have shown their overwhelming support for the commercial fishing industry.

We hope to see you there next year!

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