Predictions for future of seafood industry

Day one of Seafood Directions 2017 was opened with an encouraging address by Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources who welcomed over 350 delegates to the International Convention Centre and set the tone for the two-day conference themed “Sea the Future”.

Minister Ruston declared that Australia’s aquaculture industries are set to double their value to $2 billion following today’s launch of the Federal Government’s National Aquaculture Strategy.  Minister Ruston also launched the Commonwealth Fisheries Policy Statement, committing Australia to further sustainable management and protection of natural marine environments.

Keynote speaker Craig Rispin, Business Futurist for The Future Trends Group utilised his expertise in emerging business, people and technology trends to deliver a presentation on his predictions for the future of the seafood industry.

Rispin predicts that the biggest technological impact on the seafood industry will be the use and reliance on robotics and the influence that Amazon will have on consumer access to seafood and in resolving regional delivery issues of seafood products.

Veronica Papacosta, chair of the newly implemented national peak body Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) announced the key priorities to be addressed by SIA consisting of the improvement of social license and community respect, country of origin labelling in the food service sector, biosecurity, resource allocation and access, seismic testing and a long term surety around access to the Diesel Fuel Rebate for businesses.

Sharing insight from a different area of primary industry, Peter Haydon, general manager marketing for Australian Pork Limited spoke of lessons to be learned from the pork industry and put an offer to the seafood industry to collaborate and share consumer insights to help grow pork and seafood to become Australia’s leading choice of proteins.

Jonathen Arul is the co-founder of Mawio Farms and spoke about the potential of insect derived protein as the future of aquaculture feed.  Arul explained how his company is utilising Black Soldier Flies to turn bio-waste into fish feed in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and how important the innovation has been in creating jobs and fueling economic prosperity in the area.

The afternoon program was divided into three sessions covering safety management and gear technology, connecting with community and consumers and the environment and improving fisheries productivity.

Patrick Hone, executive director of Fisheries Research and Development Corporation concluded the first day of the conference summarising the highlights of the day.  Inspired by Nick Bowditch from the Mentoring Club, Hone reflected on the importance of telling the seafood industry’s story and how we have 40,000 years of indigenous fishing seafood culture, rich in tradition to help connect the community with seafood.

Hone also pondered the need to modernise the industry and the opportunity to carbon neutralise the fishing industry in the near future.

This year saw conference live streaming registration offered to allow access to every presentation held in the main conference room.   Day two of the conference can also be accessed via live streaming registration and will have communications links available for questions and interactions with conference panels in live time.

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