Seafood industry buoyed by Federal support

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s $110 million International Freight Assistance announcement.

“We’d like to thank the Federal Government for helping to keep Aussie jobs and Aussie seafood on the table,” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said. “The Australian seafood industry has been in turmoil since orders to China evaporated on 24 January. We asked the Federal Government for financial support and coordination assistance to reopen export markets; today we can tick that box.

“Seafood Industry Australia was created for moments like this. As the voice of the Australian seafood industry we asked our members what their needs were, how we could keep the industry afloat, and we took that message to Governments right around the country.”

The assistance will help the Australian seafood industry restart exports to global markets, including China. This means not only securing Australian businesses and jobs in the seafood industry, but further downstream in processing, freight and beyond, according to Lovell.

“For the Aussie seafood businesses who have effectively been without an income for nine weeks, for their employees, and for their families this marks the beginning of a return to normal. There’s no better stimulus than getting back to work. We have orders waiting, and we now have a way to confidently go fishing to fill those orders,” she said.

“We asked for government fees and charges to be waived, and the Federal Government heard that request and has waived fisheries management levies under the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, saving our industry more than $10 million this year. This waiver is welcome news for our struggling industry and will provide a slight reprieve to many.

“We look forward to welcoming more good news over the coming weeks as other states assist industry by waiving their fees and charges. We understand there are many challenges for Governments across the country right now, but as an essential service, who provide more than one billion meals to families here and overseas, it is critical that we’re able to keep working.

“We have worked closely with the Federal Government, and particularly Assistant Minister Jonathon Duniam and his office. We thank John and Danielle for responding to our calls for help – and we look forward to continuing to work with them to deliver on challenges we continue to face. We’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of Seafood Trade Advisory Group’s (STAG) Nathan Maxwell and Jayne Gallagher.”

Australia’s commercial fishing industry announces outcome of national crisis

Representatives from Australia’s commercial fishing industry converged in Fremantle, WA to discuss the continued threats to the industry’s resource access, stemming from ongoing nationwide government intervention.

“We called today’s ‘Tipping Point’ meeting to discuss the widespread government interventions, reviews and reform processes bringing increased uncertainty to our industry, most prominent at the moment is the attack on the Western Rock Lobster Fishery” Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) CEO Jane Lovell said.

“What we have seen happen in Western Australia with regard to Western Rock Lobster and the McGowan Government’s move to issue licenses to itself, is unprecedented, we believe illegal and condemned by representatives at today’s meeting. This action dramatically devalues the local industry and has national consequences on property rights, not just within the seafood industry,” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.

“Those present from fishing communities and families from throughout Australia clearly stated their support for the rock lobster fishers of WA in their battle against the unfair and unjust seizure of the fishery by the state of Western Australia. The result of that seizure would be to undermine sound fisheries management to the detriment of the whole Australian community,” Dr George Kailis, Executive Chair of the MG Kailis Group.

In an unprecedented showing of unity, industry leaders from every state and territory came together today and discussed pathways to address the constant erosion of our access to resources, and the devaluation and destabilisation of the commercial seafood industry around the nation. The meeting focused on establishing a long-term approach to provide greater security in access rights. The following resolutions were agreed upon:

  • We support the WA Rock Lobster industry in their battle to reject the unprecedented, unfair and unjust proposal to steal fishing access rights.
  • We reconfirm that security of fishing access rights is paramount to proper fisheries management, conservation and community benefit.
  • We commit to working more closely with the Australian community.
  • We will work to engage and educate our politicians for better community outcomes.

“Seafood Industry Australia was created to provide a united voice of the Australian seafood industry – to promote, protect and develop the industry,” said Lovell. “Today, we have just that. This tipping point meeting is the catalyst for the start of a unified industry approach for long-term, secure access rights for Australian fishing families and the Australian community at large.”