Seafood industry welcomes IFAM extension

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing the Australian seafood industry, has welcomed news the Federal Government will extend the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) until December 2020.

“On behalf of our members and the entire Australian seafood industry, SIA would like to thank the Federal Government for extending the IFAM until the end of the year,” SIA Interim CEO Veronica Papacosta said. “The $240 million extension will allow Australia’s wild-catch fishers and aquaculturists to deliver an estimated $3 billion worth of produce to key international markets including China, Japan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

“The IFAM extension will provide market certainty to our exporters who rely on air freight, and will help protect jobs in the wild-caught and aquaculture sectors, and countless more positions downstream in postharvest, freight and beyond.

“Since the IFAM was first announced in March, more than $500 million worth of seafood products have been exported. Keeping industry connected to our international markets only secures the future of businesses and jobs, but cements our reputation as a reliable trading partner.

Typically Australian seafood exports are carried in the cargo hold of commercial aircraft, but with few international passenger flights under COVID-19 restrictions the majority of outbound flights were cancelled which saw our transport routes disappear.

Restoring these supply chains has been important to industry maintaining relationships with customers around the world, so we can continue to deliver our high-quality Australian
seafood to every corner of the globe long after IFAM ends and COVID-19 has passed.

“The IFAM has provided an export-lifeline to industry nationwide during the COVID-19
pandemic, without it our industry would not be where we are today,” said Papacosta.
“The Coalition has provided unwavering support for industry throughout the COVID-19
economic crisis, and we thank them for helping to keep Australian businesses and jobs
afloat, and Australian seafood on the table.

“We’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of Seafood Trade Advisory Group’s Nathan
Maxwell and Jayne Gallagher, Tassal, and all members of the Australian seafood industry
who have worked tirelessly with the government to help secure this support extension.”

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.”