World-leading marine biologist Prof. Ray Hilborn announced as keynote speaker for Seafood Directions Conference

To celebrate World Ocean Day (June 8, 2022) Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial seafood industry, has announced pre-eminent marine biologist and fisheries scientist, Professor Ray Hilborn as a keynote speaker for their leading biennial conference, Seafood Directions, tol be held in Brisbane in September. 

“It is with great pleasure we announce Professor Ray Hilborn as a keynote speaker for the Seafood Directions Conference 2022, which will be held at the Sofitel Brisbane from September 13-15, under the theme ‘One Voice, One Future’,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. 

“Ray is a world-leading Professor at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, specialising in natural resource management and conservation, who will present a talk titled, ‘How to sustain food from the seas while protecting marine ecosystems’.”

“I am excited to be able to travel again and reconnect with Australian colleagues at the Seafood Directions conference,” Professor Hilborn said. 

“The [global] seafood industry faces unprecedented challenges in access to the ocean, but also some exciting opportunities and needs to be prepared to face these challenges in a unified way.

“The conference theme, ‘One Voice, One Future’, is spot on for where researchers and commercial seafood producers, both capture and aquaculture need to be as they move forward. 

“Seafood is the best way to produce food while protecting natural ecosystems and this message needs to be made clear to national and international policy makers.”

“The Seafood Directions conference will provide a forum for industry leaders and innovators across aquaculture, wild-catch and post-harvest to join together with scientists, fisheries managers and broader stakeholders to discuss and plan for the future of seafood, showcase best-practice solutions, tech innovations, share knowledge and workshop solutions to tricky, important problems,” Ms Papacosta said. 

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For more information on the Seafood Directions Conference visit www.seafooddirections.com.au

Early-bird ticket sales for the 2022 event close on Friday, June 24. Tickets available at www.seafooddirections.com.au/tickets/ 

RAY HILBORN – BIOGRAPHY

Ray Hilborn is a Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington specialising in natural resource management and conservation. He authored several books including “Ocean Recovery: a sustainable future for global fisheries? (with Ulrike Hilborn) in 2019 , “Overfishing: what everyone needs to know” (with Ulrike Hilborn) in 2012, “Quantitative fisheries stock assessment” with Carl Walters in 1992, and “The Ecological Detective: confronting models with data” with Marc Mangel, in 1997 and has published over 300 peer reviewed articles. He has received the Volvo Environmental Prize, the American Fisheries Societies Award of Excellence, The Ecological Society of America’s Sustainability Science Award, and the International Fisheries Science Prize. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Washington State Academy of Sciences, and the American Fisheries Society. 

ABOUT SEAFOOD DIRECTIONS

Seafood Directions was established in 1999 as a Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) initiative to provide an industry forum for the exchange of ideas. FRDC remains a key funding partner and support agency for Seafood Directions 2022, 2024 and 2026 which will be hosted by Seafood Industry Australia.

The 2022 Seafood Directions Conference is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar; and with support from the Brisbane Economic Development Agency.

For information on conference sponsorship or ticketing please contact SIA Business and Events Manager Rosie Love on:  M: 0403 615 038e: rosie@seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au

For more information or to organise an interview with SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta

please contact SIA communications and public affairs manager Jessica McInerney

E: jessica@seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au M: 0420 695 431

World Aquaculture Conference 2023 coming to Darwin

Darwin Convention Centre, Northern Territory, Australia
May 29 – June 1, 2023

WORLD Aquaculture 2023 (WA2023) will attract thousands of international attendees for a four-day
conference featuring industry speakers, showcasing innovative research, workshops, tours and
more.

Australia will host the annual World Aquaculture 2023 (WA2023) from 29 May to 1 June 2023 at the
Darwin Convention Centre. This is the first World Aquaculture conference to be hosted by Australia
since 2014.

With a value of USD 263.6 billion, world aquaculture production reached 114.5 million tonnes in
2018.

Darwin is the ideal location for WA2023, in close proximity to the expanding Australian industry, and
to around 89 percent of the world’s aquaculture from major production regions in Asia.

With the Australian government recently recognising the need to support a strong future for
Australian aquaculture, WA2023 is a timely event to bring international and national industry
representatives, scientists, sector analysts, government officials, educators, and policy makers to
present, exchange ideas and progress sustainable industry development.

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the Australian peak-body representing the commercial seafood
industry, said they are excited to be hosting the event.

“We are thrilled to welcome the World Aquaculture 2023 conference to Australia,” SIA CEO Veronica
Papacosta said.

“Australia’s aquaculture sector has maintained steady growth over the last few years, with the
sector’s GVP growing 10 per cent in 2019−20. This growth can be largely attributed to Tasmania’s
growing Atlantic Salmon industry, which is now worth 35 per cent of national fisheries and
aquaculture GVP.

“Aquaculture is an integral food production sector and plays a key role in securing international food
security, a role which is forecast to grow in years to come. Australia’s aquaculture sector has a bright
future as it continues to set international benchmarks by providing fresh, high-quality, sustainable
seafood year-round, while meeting and exceeding regulatory requirements.

“We look forward to hosting national and international delegates in Darwin, and for them to
experience our great Australian seafood first-hand.”

Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said Tourism Australia is excited to be supporting the World Aquaculture Conference 2023 in Darwin through its Business Events Bid Fund Program.

“We congratulate the Northern Territory on its successful bid to host this conference, which has the
potential to deliver significant benefits,” Ms Harrison said.

“Attracting events, like this, is helping to generate global attention for Australia’s world-class
business events offering whilst also delivering short and long term benefits to our tourism industry and economy more broadly.”

Australia’s aquaculture production value increased by 10% in 2019-20, to AUD$1.6 billion, and
employed 7,000 people, with key sectors including salmonids, tuna, prawns, oysters, barramundi
and pearls, and many other species.

Contacts
SIA communications and public affairs manager Jessica McInerney M: 0420 695 431 or E: jessica@seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au
Assoc Prof Jennifer Blair – WA23 Conference Chair, President WAS – mob. 0408 394 437; email
jenniferb@ornatas.com.au

Additional Information
FAO. 2020. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020. Sustainability in action. Rome.
https://doi.org/10.4060/ca9229en
ABARES. 2021. Australian fisheries and aquaculture production 2020.
https://www.awe.gov.au/abares/research-topics/fisheries/fisheries-and-aquaculturestatistics/production
For more information on this event www.was.org or contact apcsec@was.org

Seafood Industry Australia welcomes Albanese Ministry and Senator Watt’s appointment as Ag Minister

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial seafood industry, has welcomed the Albanese Ministry and congratulated Queensland Senator Murray Watt on his appointment as the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 

“On behalf of Australia’s commercial seafood industry I would like to welcome Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s first full Ministry and congratulate Senator Watt on his appointment as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. 

“SIA looks forward to building on the strong relationship our commercial seafood industry has with the incoming government, and to working with Minister for Watt and his team to support Australia’s fishers, farmers and retailers who underpin the industry. 

“Workforce attraction and retention including maintaining the current Ag Visa scheme, along with export market freight access remain key focus areas for the seafood industry. We look forward to working on these important issues with Minister Watt as soon as possible. 

“The seafood industry was the first and worst hit during the COVID pandemic, and the support of International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) can be thanked for our strong position and the ability to continue our important trade relationships with our international customers. The IFAM is scheduled to end later this month, however its removal with no bridging support for producers is premature; especially as global transport faces the continued challenges of fewer passenger flights, high fuel prices and the war in Ukraine.

“We will continue to work constructively with the ALP and Minister Watt to further develop policies, positions and projects that provide benefits to those in the industry as well as those who are supportive consumers of Australia’s seafood products, including the phased introduction of Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for Australian seafood sold in foodservice. 

“In the lead-up to the Federal Election, SIA secured a landmark commitment from the ALP to work with the seafood and hospitality sectors to implement mandatory CoOL, in support of our great Australian seafood industry. The implementation of mandatory CoOL for seafood in foodservice has been one of SIA’s key priorities for the past five years, and a cause championed by industry and consumers for decades. 

“The ALP has reinforced their support for our industry by committing to maintain our robust Marine Park network in its current form. This commitment provides surety of access to our fishers, affirms investment potential and paves the way for innovation. 

“The ALP’s election commitment to fund a two-year national roll-out of the Stay Afloat mental health program to 50 seafood hubs around the country is a wonderful result. We look forward to working with Minister for Health The Hon. Mark Butler MP and Assistant Minister for Mental Health Emma McBride MP to provide critical and much needed support to our industry members.”

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For more information or to organise an interview with SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta

please contact SIA communications and public affairs manager Jessica McInerney

E: jessica@seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au M: 0420 695 431

‘The future looks CoOL’: Australia’s seafood industry congratulates Albanese Government on election win

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial seafood industry, has congratulated the Albanese Government on their 2022 Federal Election win. 

“On behalf of Australia’s commercial seafood industry I would like to extend my congratulations to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Australian Labor Party (ALP) for their 2022 Federal Election win,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. 

“SIA looks forward to continuing to build on our relationship with the incoming government, along with the Minister for Agriculture Julie Collins and her team, who have been avid supporters of Australia’s seafood industry including the fishers, farmers and retailers who underpin the industry. 

“We will continue to work constructively with the ALP to further develop policies, positions and projects that provide benefits to those in the industry as well as those who are supportive consumers of Australia’s seafood products, including the phased introduction of Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for Australian seafood sold in foodservice. 

“In the lead-up to the Federal Election, SIA secured a landmark commitment from the ALP to work with the seafood and hospitality sectors to implement mandatory CoOL, in support of our great Australian seafood industry. 

“The implementation of mandatory CoOL for seafood in foodservice has been one of SIA’s key priorities for the past five years, and a cause championed by industry and consumers for decades. 

“The ALP also reinforced their support for our industry by committing to maintain our robust Marine Park network in its current form. This commitment provides surety of access to our fishers and affirms investment potential and paves the way for innovation. 

“We thank the ALP and Minister Collins for the election commitment to fund a two-year national roll-out of the Stay Afloat mental health program to 50 seafood hubs around the country. This is a wonderful result, and we look forward to being able to provide critical and much needed support to our industry members.

“Workforce attraction and retention, along with export market freight access remain key focus areas for the seafood industry and we look forward to working on these important issues with Minister Collins and the ALP. 

“I would like to take a moment to thank the Coalition, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Assistant Minister for Fisheries Senator Jonno Duniam, and Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud MP for their unwavering support of the Australian seafood industry while in government. The seafood industry was the first and worst hit during the COVID pandemic, and the Coalition’s support can be thanked for our strong rebound position.”

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For more information or to organise an interview with SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta

please contact SIA communications and public affairs manager Jessica McInerney

E: jessica@seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au M: 0420 695 431

Let’s compare: Major party support ahead of 2022 Federal Election

This weekend, Australians will head to the polls to elect the 47th Parliament of Australia. In the lead-up to the Federal Election SIA engaged with and consulted members to develop our SIA Election Pack, and our Political Lobbying Handbook.

SIA is pleased to announce we have received formal commitments from both the Liberal National Party (LNP) and the Australian Labor Party (ALP) to fund a two-year national roll-out of the Stay Afloat mental health program to 50 seafood hubs around the country. This is a wonderful result, and we look forward to being able to provide critical support to our industry members in need. 

Click here to read a letter to SIA from the Assistant Minister for Fisheries Senator Jonno Duniam

Click here to read a letter to SIA from the Shadow Minister for Agriculture the Julie Collins MP

SIA partnered with the AFTA, BIA and ARFF to write to all political parties on the matter of the management of the Commonwealth Marine Parks network requesting their policy for the next term of government, and a commitment to maintain our robust network in its current form. We have received a commitment from both the LNP and the ALP to maintain the current Marine Park network. You can read a copy of their commitment letters here and here.  

The commitment from the ALP to maintain the current plans, and not revert to the Tony Burke era marine parks is a significant achievement and provides surety of resource access for industry. 

We would like to thank our recreational fishing and boating colleagues at AFTA, ARFF and BIA for the professional and collaborative relationship which has brought about this win. We acknowledge the power of unity and working together on important matters of shared interest to achieve positive outcomes for all. 

We have secured a landmark commitment from the ALP to implement mandatory Country of Origin Labelling for Australian seafood sold in foodservice. “Labor will also commit to working with the seafood and hospitality sectors to implement mandatory country of origin labelling to support the Australian seafood industry,” ALP policies, A Better Future for our Regions

The implementation of mandatory Country of Origin Labelling for seafood in foodservice has been one of SIA’s key priorities for the past five years, and a cause championed by industry for decades. Congratulations to all who have joined in advocating for this change. The LNP has made no commitment to mandatory legislation, however they have committed to  the development of an “Information Standard” which will lay the framework for best-practice labelling, and promote a voluntary labelling system. 

In partnership with the Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA), we have secured a commitment from the LNP to amend the cancellation provisions in the Fisheries Management Act 1991 to clarify the security of commercial fishing rights. “I acknowledge the current cancellation provisions are of concern to industry and that there is merit in clarifying when a license would or could be cancelled. These provisions will be amended in consultation with the sector, to ensure the amendments are successful in addressing industry’s concerns about the extent of the regulator’s powers,” Assistant Minister for Fisheries Senator Jonno Duniam said. The ALP has not responded to this request. We thank the CFA for their hard work and commitment in advocating for this important amendment. 

I would like to thank all of our SIA members, along with the broader industry, who engaged with SIA in the development of our Election Pack and with their local member, Senators and candidates to advocate for industry ahead of the election. I would also like to thank the SIA team for their hard work in securing these important commitments and support for our industry. 

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SIA awarded grant to simplify seafood retailer audit process and increase market transparency

  • $861,773 (GST incl) to Seafood Industry Australia to harmonise audit standards.
  • Part of $5.94 million (GST incl) for projects to improve market transparency across perishable agricultural goods (PAG) supply chains.

A grant of $861,773 will back the Coalition Government’s commitment to strong and fair supply chains across the seafood sector.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said Seafood Industry Australia would now work with industry and the retail sector to streamline and harmonise audit requirements and improve market transparency.

“Every Australian producer deserves a fair negotiation process for their goods and we are working to ensure better market transparency across the seafood industry,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This project directly addresses key recommendations made by a recent Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Inquiry into Perishable Agricultural Goods industries.

“And it directly supports our plan to help industry realise it’s goal of $100 billion in value by 2030.”

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said the project would benefit both the seafood industry and Australian consumers.

“Australians consumed 335,000 tonnes of seafood in 2019–20, which equates to 12kg of seafood per person on average,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“This grant will help to reduce administration and therefore costs for our fishers by making audit requirements more straightforward.

“Ultimately this means that it will be easier for them to deliver our sustainable, high-quality Australian seafood to markets, which is great for them and great for Aussies wanting to get their hands on this product on the market shelf.”

Liberal Candidate for Lyons Susie Bower said that growing primary industries was a key part of her plan for Lyons.

“I am proud to be a part of a team that has shown unwavering support for the agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture industries,” Ms Bower said.

“This investment is a really important step to helping our fishers get their product to market more easily, which is great for fishers and seafood producers across Lyons.

“These investments are only made possible by having a strong economy, and only the Coalition has a plan for a strong economy and a stronger future for Tasmania.”

Seafood Industry Australia CEO Veronica Papacosta said the project would see industry work closely with supermarkets to simplify multiple audit requirements into a single set of standards.

“Improving market transparency improves both consumer and retailer confidence in the industry. It creates stronger trust between producers, wholesalers and retailers; and drives productivity and competition,” Ms Papacosta said.

“To achieve greater market transparency, increase competition, and open supply opportunities to more Australian seafood producers, this project will harmonise the food safety and sustainability standards into one single audit system across all major Australian retailers and their suppliers.

“This project is good for the seafood industry, and it’s good for our great Australian seafood consumers.”

Fast facts:

  • The Australian Government is investing $5.94 million (GST incl) in projects to improve market transparency across perishable agricultural goods supply chains.
  • The ACCC inquiry into PAG recommended that governments and industries explore measures to increase price transparency in perishable agricultural goods industries, to increase competition in those industries.
  • Workshops were held in late 2021 with the chicken meat, dairy, horticulture, pork, red meat, seafood, and wine grapes sectors, providing opportunities to identify price and market transparency issues and explore tools and processes to address them.

SIA awarded AgUP grant to develop labour retention and training platform SeaWork

  • First round of AgUP grants announced to help agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries retain and grow their workforce.
  • $385,000 (GST incl) awarded to Seafood Industry Australia to set up a new employment platform.

A $385,000 grant from the Coalition Government will help the commercial seafood industry set up a national online hub linking its workforce to employment, training and career pathways to retain workers and attract newcomers.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the first round of AgUP grants marked the beginning of a four-year program to upskill industry workforces through mentoring and development, including accredited education and training.

“The grant for Seafood Industry Australia will help it set up an online employment hub that will be the first of its kind and a much-needed resource for the industry,” Minister Littleproud said.

“AgUP will support jobs and help retain workers by building skills and establishing and improving career progression and mentoring opportunities.

“It’s about supporting industry-led approaches to improve workforce outcomes and establish career pathways.”

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam, said this grant would equip industry for future success as exports recovered and new markets opened.

“With exports predicted to grow due to greater demand for high-quality Australian seafood, better training and career progression opportunities will position the domestic industry for continued success,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“It has never been a better or more important time for the industry to focus on how it can attract and retain the workers it will need.”

Liberal Candidate for Lyons Susie Bower said that growing primary industries was a key part of her plan for Lyons.

“I am proud to be a part of a team that has shown unwavering support for the agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture industries,” Ms Bower said.

“This investment will help more young people in Lyons get involved in, and have a strong career, in this industry.

“These investments are only made possible by having a strong economy, and only the Coalition has a plan for a strong economy and a stronger future for Tasmania.”

Seafood Industry Australia CEO Veronica Papacosta said the AgUP grant will support the development of a platform for seafood jobs, training and career development.

“The AgUp grant will allow SIA to develop a national platform to act as one-stop-shop for workers in all sectors of the seafood industry. The platform will have a direct connection to training, mentorship, capacity building, job opportunities, and to promote workforce retention,” Ms Papacosta said.

“The platform will compile and promote a calendar of seasonal work opportunities around the country, to support the transition of experienced and skilled seasonal workers between seasonal work contracts in the industry.

“At its core, the project will build awareness of the career opportunities and career pathways available to people working in or considering a future in commercial seafood production.

“Our great Australian seafood industry is growing, this new hub will support the industry to build our workforce, develop our existing workers, and provide the labour security we need to continue to grow.”

Fast facts:

  • Human capital is central to supporting the agriculture industry reach its goal of $100 million in production by 2030.
  • The AgUp grants program provides $7.3 million in funding over 4 years to support industry-led initiatives focussed on promoting and attracting Australians to careers in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector.
  • AgUP is part of the Coalition Government’s response to the National Agricultural Workforce Strategy.

$1.5 million election-commitment from Morrison Government for Stay Afloat national rollout

A re-elected Morrison Government will invest $1.5 million in improving mental health support for commercial fishers across Australia.

This investment will extend and expand Seafood Industry Australia’s ‘Stay Afloat’ program, a national mental health pilot for the Australian seafood industry that was started with a $600,000 election commitment from the Morrison Government in 2019.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and Liberal Senator for Tasmania Jonno Duniam said the investment will allow the program to establish up to 50 Hubs covering 150 seafood producing communities across Australia to provide mental health support to our hardworking fishers.

“Research shows that Australia’s commercial fishers suffer from mental health problems at twice the base rate of the general population,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“There are a range of factors that influence this, and this program is all about educating people, developing those mental health support networks and ensuring that any barriers to accessing support are broken down.

“We know that the pilot program run in Lakes Entrance, Newcastle and Darwin has been successful in connecting fishers with the services they need and otherwise may not be accessing.

“More than 230 industry members have received accredited mental training, 220 people in crisis have been connected with mental health support services, and 35 events have been delivered for industry members to learn about mental health signs, symptoms and where to find help.

“This program is giving our fishers the tools to look after their mental health and it is saving peoples’ lives through program outreach.

“This investment will ensure the positive outcomes of the pilot program are extended to fishing communities around Australia.

“It is essential that we increase awareness, reduce stigma and empower our hardworking fishers to reach out for help.”

Chief Executive Officer of Seafood Industry Australia, Veronica Papacosta, welcomed the commitment from the Morrison Government to provide support for a national rollout of the Stay Afloat program.

“This funding will save lives, and we thank the Morrison Government for their support,” Ms Papacosta said.

“The Stay Afloat program does not duplicate existing work or services but engages with Primary Health Networks and educates them about industry issues and the challenges facing commercial seafood producers.

“The pilot program developed highly effective grassroots, peer-engagement method which supported industry to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health, and how to connect with existing services like GPs, Beyond Blue and Lifeline.”

The Morrison Government has made mental health and suicide prevention a national priority and is investing a record $3 billion in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 Budgets for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to deliver landmark reform of the mental health and suicide prevention system.

Unlike the Labor Party, who cut mental health funding when last in Government and has not given Australians any detail on their plans for mental health in the future, the Morrison Government will continue to ensure that all Australians can access information, advice, counselling, or treatment, when and where they need it.

For more information on the Stay Afloat program please visit: https://www.stayafloat.com.au.

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Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.

If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.

For more information or to organise an interview with SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta please contact SIA Communications and Public Affairs Manager Jessica McInerney on 0420 695 431 or jessica@seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au