It has been a busy year, and there have been a few key take aways from 2018 that have shifted the goal posts for many of our fisheries. We have listed a few key ones below:
It was made clear that sustainability is not the issue driving many new management decisions.The new buzzword that has surfaced in the debate is Social Licence. Industry must develop a mechanism for defense around this yet to be measured concept of social licence. It is critical that Industry provide evidence of and continue to grow community support, with a few ideas listed below:
Research of the True Community Value provided by seafood to the Regions and the State, consider the economic, environmental, social and cultural value that our fisheries provide.
We require broad communication of these facts to the wider community.
Surveys of local communities – attitudes around local seafood, its production and the what it provides to local communities.
Fishers and the seafood sector - The roles we play in the community outside of fishing – We need to know your voluntary roles in sports, school P&C’s, clubs, services, etc.
Supporting the community – Such as food for the homeless. We know of two SSPWA members who are donating seafood to the Bunbury Foodbank. No-one is telling this story. We must get better at our messaging.
Employment in Regional Communities – In 2018, the SSPWA joined with high profile chefs that are working with indigenous students from across the state who have an interest in working in the food, agribusiness, hospitality and tourism sectors. Kinjarling Djinda Ngardak 2018 was a great success, based in Albany and Denmark, culminating in an amazing gala dinner. The program features lesser known local seafood products, such as Leather Jacket, Knifejaw, Australian Salmon, Surf Crabs, Akoya Oysters and Mussels. This event achieved significant press and media coverage and also exposed new and different products to around a dozen high profile WA and interstate chefs, who were very impressed with the products and want to know more about the products we can provide. Kinjarling Djinda Ngardak 2019 has asked the SSPWA fishers to sponsor this event again, which is an event we should all be proud of. As a result of the SSPWA involvement in Kinjarling Djinda Ngardak 2018, the Association has been asked to work with the organisers of Australia’s first International Sea Shanty Festival, being held in Albany in April 2019, in conjunction with The Festival of the Sea.Some fantastic ideas to develop the culture around the fishing heritage of the South and a range of other activities that will provide huge opportunities to profile our products and our importance to the south coast and regional WA.Fishing businesses are coming under pressure to utilise produce for human consumption, rather than bait purposes where possible. It is clear this process takes some time, which is why the SSPWA is developing a project to determine the viability of a multi-species processing facility to add value to under-valued species. If proven to be viable, this initiative will form a key plank to develop new value chains, utilising under-valued species. This will complement, not compete with existing supply chains.
Mandurah Crabs for Christmas: When SSPWA received a call from the President of the Mandurah Licenced Fisherman’s Association, Meeghan Watts, telling us that Recfishwest had refused to support an exemption to catch Mandurah crabs for Christmas, we were amazed. It is very surprising that any organisation would put its self-centred agenda before the needs of the broader community on an occasion such as Christmas. It was good to see that after a few phone calls and meetings with SSPWA, common sense prevailed with an agreement that meant Mandurah fishers could supply fresh crabs to the 2 million WA seafood consumers who buy their seafood…