‘A period of growth and opportunity’: Australian seafood industry welcomes UK-Australia free trade agreement

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial seafood industry, has welcomed the announcement of the Australia-UK free trade agreement as the industry works to diversify their markets. 

“This announcement marks a period of renewed growth and opportunity for the Australian seafood industry, and we look forward to building strong and vibrant relationships with our UK customers,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. 

“Last Friday (AU-time), prime ministers Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson signed an ‘in-principle’ trade deal between Australia and the United Kingdom. This landmark deal will guarantee tariff-free, quota-free access to the UK market for Australian seafood products.

“As an industry we have been working hard over the past two years to diversify our markets to ensure we have a resilient export strategy. This announcement provides a significant leap forward in market access which is welcomed by the industry. 

“Importantly, there will be an elimination of tariffs on entry into force (EIF)  including those on all fin-fish and, the 12% tariff on fresh and frozen rock lobster. The remaining tariffs will be eliminated over three years. 

“Our Great Australian Seafood producers will now have access to more than 65 million UK consumers who value our safe, sustainably produced Great Australian Seafood. While UK consumers will have access to some of the greatest seafood in the world. 

“Australia is a world leader in sustainable fisheries management. For the eighth consecutive year our Commonwealth-managed fisheries have been given the tick of sustainability. This is something our commercial fishers are very proud of, and is unprecedented internationally. Coupled with our aquaculture sector who provide fresh, high-quality seafood, year-round – Australian seafood is one of the best managed, healthiest and most sustainable protein sources in the world.

“We applaud Trade Minister Dan Tehan and our negotiation team on an improved set of market access outcomes. The UK deal will create new and needed opportunities for Australia’s seafood producers in a high-value market. The Coalition has provided unwavering support for the Australian seafood industry throughout the COVID-19 economic crisis. SIA, on behalf of our members and the entire Australian seafood industry, extends thanks to all parties who worked hard to action this deal which will help keep Australian seafood businesses and jobs afloat, and put our Great Australian Seafood on UK tables.

“We’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of Seafood Trade Advisory Group, the Seafood Export Consultative Committee and all members of the Australian seafood industry who have worked tirelessly with the government to help secure this deal.”


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

Australia’s Greatest Fish & Chips shops announced

The winners of the 2021 Great Australian Fish & Chip Awards, organised by Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), have been announced, with the country’s best fish & chippers in each state and territory crowned. 

“In every town, across every state and territory, people spruik their fish & chips as number one. So, we’ve listened to the people, and crowned the best fish & chip shops around the country,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. 

“After close to 300,000 votes from the public, the most in the award’s history, the winners of the Great Australian Fish & Chip Awards 2021 MasterFoods™ People’s Choice Awards are: 

  • Queensland – Costa’s Seafood Cafe, Capalaba
    • Queenslanders cast the most votes out of any state/territory, which meant this top store reeled in the most votes in the entire competition! 
  • New South Wales – Something Seafood, Callala Bay
  • Victoria – Trident Fish Bar, Queenscliff
  • Tasmania – Fraggles, Invermay
  • South Australia – Fish out of water, Hyde Park
  • Western Australia – Pinjarra Fish & Chips, Pinjarra
  • Northern Territory – Frying Nemo Fish and Chippery, Stuart Park
  • Australian Capital Territory – The Fish Shack, Civic
    • This is the ACT’s first appearance in the Great Australian Fish & Chip Awards, and The Fish Shack narrowly edged out the competition by 10 votes to claim the top spot. 

“After a hard 18 months for Australia’s foodservice industry and our commercial fishers, we encourage everyone to take a night or two off from the kitchen, get together with your friends and family, and support your local takeaway store and your fishers, while you enjoy some Great Australian Fish & Chips.

“The Great Australian Fish & Chip Awards showcase the very best fish & chip businesses around the country, while they celebrate our great Australian seafood, and the fishers who produce all of our favourite seafoods. 

“The awards also highlight the importance of buying fresh, local, Australian seafood. It’s important to always ask for Aussie seafood; even why you’re buying fish & chips. Australian seafood is one of the most sustainable protein sources in the world and our fisheries management is world-class. However, close to 70 per cent of seafood eaten in Australia is imported so it’s important you chat to your server about where your seafood is from.

“Buying Australian seafood supports Australian fishing families and regional communities they operate in. And, the good news is, it’s easy as to support them. You do it just by eating some Great Australian Fish & Chips.”

For more information visit:  www.fishandchipawards.com.au 


Thank you to our sponsors: Gold: MasterFoods™.

Silver: Cookers and FRDC. 

Bronze: KB Food Co, Seafood Industry Australia and Great Australian Seafood. 

The 2020-110: Fish and Chips Awards 2021 is supported by funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation on behalf of the Australian Government

Great Australian Fish and Chip Awards 2019 winners

State and Territory People’s Choice Award Winners

  • NSW – Pelican Rocks Seafood Restaurant and Café
  • NT –     Frying Nemo Fish and Chippery
  • QLD – Costa’s Seafood Cafe
  • SA –     Dolphin Fish Shop and Take Away
  • TAS –   Fraggles Fish and Chips
  • VIC –   Trident Fish Bar
  • WA –    Pinjarra Fish and Chips

Click here to find a Great Australian Fish and Chip shop near you.

‘One voice, one future’: Brisbane to host peak Australian seafood industry conference in 2022

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial fishing industry, along with Tourism Events Queensland and the Brisbane Economic Development Agency have announced the industry’s peak biennial conference, Seafood Directions, will be held in Brisbane from September 13-15, 2022. 

“It’s with great pleasure we announce the Seafood Directions Conference 2022 will be held at the Sofitel Brisbane from September 13-15, with the theme ‘One Voice, One Future’,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. 

“As we look towards a new chapter of growth for the industry it is important we have a theme that captures this. ‘One Voice, One Future’ reinforces the unity of the Australian seafood industry and the ties that bind our sub-sectors together. The seafood landscape both domestically and internationally has changed considerably since the conference was last held in 2019, and as an industry we are excited to come together at Seafood Directions 2022 and towards our one future.”

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said hosting the peak Australian seafood industry conference supports Brisbane’s efforts to create a sustainable food sector.

“With locally sourced food a key industry and growth trade area for Brisbane, it’s fantastic news the city will host the return of Seafood Directions in 2022,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Brisbane is the perfect place to foster innovative and forward-thinking conversations around long-term improvements for the seafood industry.

“Hosting this conference complements the work Brisbane Economic Development Agency is doing to support and accelerate industry growth such as the Future Food Initiative; a program that supports Brisbane’s food and beverage companies, including seafood businesses, build capability, improve readiness, and create connection pathways to new markets, customers and investors – both locally and globally.”

“The Australian seafood industry are world leaders in sustainable, well-managed seafood and it’s important we continue to promote, workshop and drive innovation in the national and international space,” Ms Papacosta said. 

“The Seafood Directions conference provides 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.”

“The Queensland seafood industry looks forward to the conference being hosted here,” Queensland Seafood Marketers Association president Marshall Betzel said.

“We are thrilled to be showcasing our Queensland seafood industry, which is the best of all the states – our use of industry-leading sustainable fishing techniques, value to the national economy, professionalism, and our commitment to supplying some of the finest seafood in the world to local, national and international markets.”

“The Seafood Directions Conference was last held in Melbourne in 2019, however due to COVID-19 the biennial conference was unable to be held in 2021,” Ms Papacosta said. 

“The industry is excited to come together in a hopefully face-to-face setting to discuss the topical issues we are facing in our future as one, including international trade and market access, climate change and the move towards net zero emissions, the United Nations Ocean Decade, along with ongoing important topics including social licence, consumer engagement and marketing, safety and mental health. 

“It’s important to us the conference is an engaging experience which offers delegates the opportunity to participate in interactive sessions, discussions, networking activities, panel sessions and workshops. In addition, we will be launching an Emerging Leaders ticket for industry participants with less than five years experience in the seafood supply chain. They will have access to special workshops during the conference and attendance support. 

“The event will close with the National Seafood Industry Awards dinner which celebrates the contribution of individuals, businesses and organisations to the Australian seafood industry over the last two years. Like the conference, the awards have been on pause since 2019 so we are excited to celebrate the many achievements of industry over this time.”


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, ticketing or speaker nominations please contact SIA Business and Events Manager Rosie Love on: 

M: 0403 615 038

E: 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

‘Celebrate with Australian seafood’: Australian seafood availability and price guide for Christmas 2021

Comment from: 

  • Seafood Industry Australia
  • Queensland Seafood Marketers Association 
  • Sydney Fish Market
  • Brolos Western rock lobster
  • Australian Council Prawn Fisheries
  • Australian Prawn Farmers Association
  • Seafood Industry Victoria
  • Northern Territory Seafood Council 

Seafood Industry Australia – Veronica Papacosta, CEO

  • “If you want to be certain you’re eating sustainable, healthy, world-class seafood this Christmas, always ask for our great Australian seafood.”
  • “Consumers can expect to see a variety of prices for Australian seafood this Christmas, with the most fluctuation between wild-caught and aquaculture products.”
  • “As we saw last year, Australian Rock Lobsters are again a great buy. People can expect to find small, whole Western Rock Lobsters starting at the $20-25 price point, moving up to $30-32 whole for a 400-500g lobster.”
  • “People should be on the lookout for some of our more underutilised species like Mussels, Calamari or Octopus this Christmas. You might be able to nab yourself a seafood bargain, and maybe even find a new favourite. If you’re not sure how to cook something, take the time to ask your fishmonger for advice.”
  • Broad price guide for whole of country – please note prices fluctuate depending on location: 
    • Wild-caught extra-large King Prawns will be around $65-70 per kilo
    • Wild-caught large King Prawns  $50-52 per kilo
    • Wild-caught medium King Prawns $45-47 per kilo 
    • Extra-large Tiger Prawns $48-50 per kilo 
    • Large Tiger Prawns $46-48 per kilo 
    • Medium Tiger Prawns $44-46 per kilo 
    • Bugs $69-70 per kilo
    • Southern Rock Lobster $90-100 per kilo, average size of 800g-1kg, some at 1.2kg 
    • Eastern Rock Lobsters – $120-140 per kilo, average size of 1-1.5kg
    • Tropical Rock Lobster tails – $68 per kilo, average size of 190g 
      • “The Tropical Rock Lobster tails will be sitting around $27-28 each. The tails are uncooked and great for the BBQ, you also don’t have the wastage of the heads so you’re looking at close to the whole weight for the meat.”
  • “With international and domestic travel restrictions still in place, we’re seeing more people in Australia for Christmas than we have previously. This means there is an increased number of people wanting to eat Australian seafood at Christmas, this coupled with labour shortages across all sectors of agriculture means we could see supply stretched. To ensure you don’t miss out on your favourite Aussie seafood place an order with your local fishmonger early. Not sure when to find a retailer near you? Use our Fish Finder to search by postcode for great Australian seafood retailers near you at www.greataustralianseafood.com.au.”
  • “Australian Oysters are always great quality and ideal for easy Christmas entertaining; they’re one less thing you’ll need to fit in the oven. During December, the price of oysters usually rises by $2 per dozen. Pacific Oysters are coming out of season, and depending on temperatures they will begin to spawn. Because of this, there is a reliance on Sydney Rock Oysters which can push the price up. Sydney Rocks are in abundance this year, and in urban centres you’ll see them sitting around $30 per dozen for large and $25 a dozen for medium. 
  • “If you’re after fin-fish there is fantastic Australian Barramundi, Salmon, Ocean Trout and Snapper in the market. These are all stunning table fish and will make for a show stopping centrepiece. Both whole fish and fillets will be available and there shouldn’t be much of a change in price year round.” 

Queensland Seafood Marketers Association – Marshall Betzel, president 

  • “It’s been a hard 12-24 months and people deserve to be able to spoil themselves this Christmas, and what better way than with Queensland seafood.”
  • “We’re lucky here in Queensland with access to some of the greatest seafood in the world. We have the wonderful opportunity to choose where we spend our Christmas and where we’ll eat our seafood. We can enjoy a seafood meal in a venue, or we can visit our local retailers and have a beautiful Christmas seafood spread at home.”
  • “Tropical Lobsters are a good buy. You may be able to find them in retail for about $50 per kilo. There are still some limitations on export and it’s competing with the other Australian Rock Lobsters in the market from NSW, WA, SA and TAS so the prices are lower than they have been in the past years. These lobsters are from the Torres Strait and they look and taste fantastic. They’ll be a real show stopper.”
    • Endeavour – $20 per kilo – “The Endeavour is a small, sweet praw that presents terrific value and from a Queensland perspective they’re an iconic species.”
    • Medium Queensland King Prawns – $35 per kilo
    • Large Queensland King Prawns – $50 per kilo 
    • Medium Queensland Tiger Prawns – $35 per kilo
    • Large Queensland Tiger Prawns – $50 per kilo
    • Banana Prawns – “The season wasn’t particularly good due to seasonal conditions like high rain, so people aren’t likely to find many Banana Prawns around. The Banana Prawn relies heavily on good rainfall and we didn’t have a huge wet season so they aren’t as bountiful as they are in a good wet season. We are looking to come into a La Nina this year, so we are confident it will bring more rain and you’ll see more Banana Prawns in the market in 2022.”
  • “Queensland Bugs are sitting at about $60 per kilo in retail and make for great eating.”

Sydney Fish Market – spokesperson 

  • “Sydney Fish Market will celebrate its 26th annual 36-Hour Seafood Marathon with the site’s retailers opening non-stop from 5am Thursday 23rd December, until 5pm Christmas Eve, with a plentiful supply of seafood for every Christmas celebration.”
  • “The event typically attracts up to 100,000 visitors and up to 370 tonnes of seafood is traded across the site.”
  • “Sydney Fish Market’s experiences some of its largest wholesale auctions of the year in the days leading into Christmas. By volume, the most traded species via Sydney Fish Market’s auction and direct sale in the week leading into Christmas 2020 included: Black Tiger Prawn, Tiger Flathead, Mud Crab, Eastern School Whiting, Sea Mullet, Blue Swimmer Crab, School Prawn, Yellowfin Tuna, Yellowtail Kingfish, Snapper, Western Rock Lobster and NZ King Salmon. SFM anticipates these species to be in abundance again in 2021.”
  • “Sydney Fish Market predicts that the market may see greater availability of fresh farmed Prawns due to the prawn farming industry being less impacted by White Spot disease this year.”
  • “It will also be another good year for Rock Lobster lovers, although with export recovering somewhat, Rock Lobsters may not be quite as cheap as last year.”
  • “Sydney Fish Market encourages consumers to buy Australian seafood this Christmas to ensure value for money, quality, and sustainability.”
  • “Australians are fortunate that we have an enormous range of quality seafood species to choose from at Christmas, with something to cater to all budgets. Sydney Fish Market has put together a guide on how to achieve a stunning Christmas seafood spread, including budget-friendly alternatives for Christmas favourites. Suggestions include:
    • “Gurnard/Latchet as an alternative for Flathead: Flathead are prized for their consistent, delicately textured flesh, which the Latchet replicates for a fraction of the cost.”
    • “Ocean Perch as a substitute for Snapper: Snapper is a favourite on Australian plates. A similar tasting fish which is underappreciated is the Bigeye Ocean Perch. It has a bright white flesh with a delicate flavour and moist texture, which can be enhanced by steaming or baking.”
    • “Swapping Atlantic Salmon for Rainbow/Ocean Trout: Ocean Trout has a similar colour and flavour profile to Atlantic Salmon when cooked and can be substituted into recipes that call for Salmon.”
    • “Scorpion Fish to replicate Lobster flesh: Lobster found its way to many Christmas tables last year, as prices dropped due to export issues, though it is typically one of the pricier seafoods. A surprising alternative for that lobster-y texture (though it doesn’t look as impressive), is Scorpion Fish.”
    • “Bream as an alternative for Barramundi: Barramundi remains a firm favourite due to its medium to large flake, mild flavour, low-medium oiliness, and moist flesh. Many white-fleshed species have similar characteristics, with Threadfin Bream being a fantastic low-cost option.”

Brolos Western rock lobster – spokesperson

  • Price/availability:
    • “Australia’s renewed love affair with West Australian rock lobster is set to continue this summer.”
    • “Improved accessibility throughout the country with thousands of supermarkets and seafood specialty stores stocking Brolos Western rock lobster.”
    • “Prices for smaller cooked lobster to start around $20 – $25 each.”
    • “Sharp prices and improved accessibility will continue beyond the Christmas period and through the summer period.”
  • Top tips for lobster preparation:
    • “Take your frozen lobster out on Christmas Eve and leave it in the fridge to defrost overnight.”
    • “If guests arrive early or you’re rushed for time, you can defrost WA rock lobster in a sink of cool water; smaller lobsters should only take 30 minutes to defrost.”
    • “If you’re planning to split your lobster to serve or cook, don’t split until you’re ready to prepare. This helps to prevent harmless oxidisation of the lobster meat.”

Australian Council Prawn Fisheries – Rachel King, Executive Officer

  • “The Australian Wild Prawn catch is lower across some fisheries this year.”
  • “QLD and NSW are still fishing and SA has just started so there may be more to come.”
  • “To get a taste of the wild for the Christmas table, the recommendation is to buy frozen to get ahead of the queues.”

Australian Prawn Farmers Association – Kim Hooper, CEO

  • Australian farmed prawns are the way to go this Christmas, according to the Australian Prawn Farmers Association.
  • “In Australia we are so fortunate to be able to buy great quality and sustainable seafood and we are again very excited by the quality and number of Aussie farmed prawns available this Christmas.” 
  • “We are seeing a bumper season for farmed prawns and although prices are determined by the retailers I am hearing that prices will be very attractive to consumers again this year.” 
  • “Farmed prawns have the added bonus of being very healthy and easy to prepare – you can’t go past the classic mango and lime prawn cocktail as an easy starter to festivities” Kim advised “and by buying Australian farmed prawns and seafood, you are supporting our local farmers and fishers.”

Seafood Industry Victoria – Joanne Butterworth-Grey, Independent Chair

  • Seafood Industry Victoria (SIV) Chair Joanne Butterworth-Gray said Victoria’s seafood industry produces more than 7,300 tonnes annually from a mix of wild-caught fisheries and aquaculture.
  • “King George whiting, calamari, snapper, abalone, rock lobster, trout, mussels, sea urchins are all part of what we know Victorians like to eat when it comes to seafood,” Ms Butterworth-Gray said.
  • “We know increasing numbers of consumers want to buy locally grown and sourced food.”

Northern Territory Seafood Council – Katherine Winchester, CEO

  • “Good news for Territorians this Christmas, with plentiful stocks being reported including NT Mud Crab, wild caught Barramundi, Goldband Snapper, Saddletail Snapper, Red Emperor, Farmed Barramundi and Territory squid.”
  • “Good supplies of the iconic NT Mud Crab are being reported with both live and cooked frozen Mud Crab available from retailers. Prices are expected to range from $50 to $55 per kg for live Mud Crab and $59 to $65 per kg for cooked frozen.”
  • “All year favourites, whole Goldband Snapper ($19 to $20 per kg) and Red Emperor ($22 to $25 per kg) are available. If you are looking for a whole fish that is a little easier on your budget, Saddletail Snapper and Mangrove Jack are available within a $14 to $17 per kg price range.”
  • “Other whole fish that are price favourites with many and also popular for their small plate size are whole Red Spot Emperor and Perch Moses which can be found around the $12.50 per kg.”
  • “With the NT Barramundi season finishing for the year on 30 September, Territorians can access frozen fillets of wild caught Barramundi or King Threadfin. Prices do vary, so shop around, with Barramundi prices ranging from $35 to $50 per kg and King Threadfin from $27 to $40 per kg.”
  • “NT squid is plentiful this year and is a great addition to any seafood platter hot or cold. Consumers have the option of tubes costing from $12 to $21 per kg or whole fresh squid at $30 per kg.”
  • “Territorian’s are spoilt for choice when it comes to NT seafood, with fish fillet option species including Rock Cod between $34 and $44 per kg, Spanish Mackerel from $22 to $35 per kg, Mangrove Jack ($35 to $42 per kg), Saddletail Snapper ($29 to $31 per kg) and Goldband Snapper ($43 to $49 per kg).”
  • “If you are looking to plate up some crispy skin Barramundi, you can’t go past Humpty Doo Barramundi with skin on fillets ranging from $35 to $40 per kg.”
  • “Stocks that will be harder to find this Christmas include Spanish Mackerel and Black Jewfish:
    • Spanish Mackerel is available in some fish retail, so you might need to check with your local retailer. Customers fortunate enough to get fillets or cutlets will expect to pay from $20 to $26 per kg depending on the cut.
    • Professional fishing for Black Jewfish is dependent on tides and weather, so leading into Christmas could be a little hit or miss in the shops to secure freshly caught with fillet prices likely to range from $24 to $32 per kg.”   
  • “If you enjoy NT cuttlefish, you might be in luck with stock just starting to appear ($14 to $16 per kg).”

‘A biased attack to generate publicity’: Seafood industry rebuffs Minderoo assessments which ignores Australian Government data

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing the Australian seafood industry, has rebuffed Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation assessment of Australia’s fisheries for omitting key, widely available research on Australia’s fish stock status and labelled it an unfounded attack on industry. 

“When I was in school you’d get a ‘D’ for a poorly researched and incomplete paper, now it appears you can get a ‘D’ because someone else poorly researched and didn’t complete theirs,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said.

“The Australian seafood industry welcomes any conversation on sustainability because we are deeply committed to a sustainable ocean. As fishers, our priority is the ocean. It’s our future and the future of generations to come. However, this report is nothing more than a campaign against one of the world’s most sustainable, well-managed, and independently recognised as such, protein sources, Australian seafood. 

“For decades, the Australian seafood industry has worked cooperatively with fisheries managers and scientists to implement best-practice protocols to underpin our long-term, sustainable future. This is evident in the report’s ranking of Australia’s fisheries governance system among the best in the world with a 10/12 rating, the highest score awarded globally. Sadly, this is at immediate odds with the report’s methodology. It escapes us how we can score the highest in the world for our fisheries governance and management, however we’re slapped with an arbitrary D-grade. It doesn’t add up. 

“Australia is a world leader in sustainable fisheries management due in large part to our commitment to using the best available science to inform our management decisions. The Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports, which are far more comprehensive than the Minderoo report, assessed Australia’s fish stocks as well-managed, with almost 86% of assessed stocks classified as sustainable or recovering thanks to stock recovery plans. 

“Australia has been completing these assessments for decades, so we understand the huge commitment of time, energy and man-power that goes into them. As a country, we made available all of the fisheries data, assessments and some of the best fisheries scientists in the world to help build a robust and sound assessment. However, the Minderoo assessment has only looked at 1400 fish stocks around the globe, including 133 in Australia, despite the readily availability of the science and independent assessments of 477 Australian stocks in the biennial Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS), and 100 commonwealth-managed fish stocks in the annual Fishery status reports. By the Minderoo researchers’ own admissions they only included data from 92 stocks addressed under SAFS, or roughly 19% of the available data. 

“If they’d taken the same amount of time to work with the independent experts, fisheries managers, fishers scientists and industry, as they’ve taken to craft a patchwork of results which completely ignores 81% of the existing data and excludes countries like Poland, Finland and Sri Lanka, then we’d have the analysis they’re purporting to have. Instead, they’ve cherry picked data and tried to be shocking to raise their profile. 

“Australia has concerns with the methodology underpinning Minderoo’s assessment of sustainability and their claims that only 40% of Australia’s fish stocks have been assessed. They are labelling any fish stock that does not have a species-specific stock assessment as ‘not assessed’. However, the robust assessment of Australia’s fish-stocks came earlier in the year when it was shown for the eighth consecutive year none of Australia’s Commonwealth-managed fisheries have been subject to overfishing. A fact that aligns with our high governance rating awarded by the report. 

“Importantly, and of global significance, is that our robust fisheries management strategies have brought Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) stocks back. In 2021, SBT was reclassified as not overfished. These results are unprecedented internationally and something that should be celebrated. Furthermore, Australia has the largest network of Marine Parks in the world with more than 37% of our waters managed, and increasing to 45%. Well above the AICHI target of 30% by 2030. This protects an area of 744,000 square kilometres and reinforces Australia’s global leadership in ocean protection. Couple this with the fact that the footprint of Australia’s trawlers is one of the smallest in the world. Along with our aquaculture sector who provide fresh, high-quality seafood, year-round, and it is evident Australian seafood is one of the best managed and most sustainable protein sources in the world.

“Furthermore, it appears Minderoo is claiming 60% of Australia’s fish-stocks are unassessed because as a country we do not record Indigenous and recreational take in a format they have deemed acceptable. As commercial fishers we’ve been attacked for years, now Minderoo wants to come after traditional owners, and Mum’s and Dad’s taking the kids to the wharf for a fish. 

“While we acknowledge internationally there are some fisheries that are not as well managed as our own, broad sweeping remarks that lump the commercial fishing industry together as one global entity are not only incorrect, but undermine and damage the countries, like Australia, and other international fisheries like the US, NZ and UK who are at the forefront of sustainability and technological advancements and work hard to lead other nations in how to do better. The Australian seafood industry supports efforts to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing globally. 

“Australia’s commercial fishers adhere to extremely strict regulations and monitoring to ensure we maintain healthy stocks and act in accordance with the law. There are prescriptive management plans, quotas and licences in place controlling what can be caught, where, when and how. We don’t, we can’t and we wouldn’t want to just go out and catch as much as we possibly can. This is an unnecessary attack on the hardworking fishing families who work tirelessly to put Australian seafood on tables right around the country. 

“What this actually needs to draw attention to is the discrepancy in Australia’s food labelling laws. We’ve known for a long time that the origin of seafood is important to ensure sustainable fisheries leading forward. All seafood sold in the retail sector must be labelled with the country of origin, however as soon as the food is cooked and sold these laws disappear; meaning consumers cannot readily distinguish between sustainable Australian and international seafood, and seafood of non-sustainable origins. 

“As an industry, we’ve campaigned for years for mandatory, legislated country of origin labelling for seafood sold in foodservice. We are asking consumers to make educated choices when purchasing their seafood, however we don’t give them the opportunity too. 

“The report has missed what could have been an opportunity to proactively engage the global seafood community in a discussion on safeguarding the future of global fish-stocks. Instead it’s nothing more than an attack on industry fuelled by an agenda and a desire to generate publicity. 

“Just like the broader community, Australia’s seafood industry cares about the marine environment and we understand the need to protect and ensure the long-term sustainability of fish stocks. Minderoo’s incomplete assessment and broad-stroke statements unjustly damage the livelihood, reputation and hard work of tens of thousands of hard working Australians who work in and rely on our seafood industry. And, they have documented and broad-reaching impacts on the mental health of our sector. 

“Independent information on the true sustainability of Australian seafood can be accessed via the free Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports app called ‘SAFS – Sustainable Fish Stocks’. This allows Aussies on-the-go access to true, correct and authoritative information on the sustainability of Australian fish stocks.

“Australia sits on the High Level Panel for A Sustainable Ocean Economy with our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison the representative. The Ocean Panel advocates the need for a sustainable ocean economy where protection, production and prosperity goes hand in hand, and Australia’s seafood industry agrees. Additionally, Seafood Industry Australia is actively involved in the United Nations 2021-2030 The Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.”


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 

or contact E: ceo@seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au M: 0409 220 788

Seafood Industry Australia appoints Trade Export Manager to scale up exports

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing the Australian seafood industry, has appointed a lead Trade Export Manager to steer the industry’s strategic export market diversification and expansion plans as they recover from the impacts of COVID and geopolitical tensions. 

The appointment comes following the announcement of an $888,000 grant in July from the Australian Government to assist in the development of seafood export markets. 

“I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Julie Willis to lead our Trade Export Management strategy,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said.

“Julie comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience across international trade, marketing, and business development; having spent many years working in international trade market development, most recently for Hort Innovation Australia managing the whole-of-horticulture export brand ‘Taste Australia’.

“Julie will be working closely with all sectors of the Australian seafood industry, Austrade and their GEM program, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, along with our broad stakeholder groups with a focus on expanding Australian seafood exports into new markets, and markets with high growth potential.”

“I am thrilled to join the Seafood Industry Australia team, and look forward to working on the industry’s trade export strategy from the ground up,” Ms Willis said. 

“I grew up on a large cattle property in Northern Queensland, so primary production has always been in my blood. 

“I was drawn to this role because of the challenges industry is facing and the knowledge my skills can help.

“I’ve found my niche, what I am passionate about and it’s a great feeling to jump out of bed and know that you can help someone; and in this case people who’ve had it rough these last 18 months.

“The program is in its infancy so I’m able to work from a grassroots level and identify the opportunities which is really exciting.”

“Importantly, our Trade Export Management team will support the whole-of-industry, regardless of sector or location. It will allow us to quickly deliver much needed support to the sectors who need it most,” Ms Papacosta said. 

“This stream of work will support and complement the ‘Australian Seafood Industry Export Market Strategic Plan’, which is in development. Our Trade Export Management team will help to inform a whole-of-industry export program and support the seafood industry to further our reputation as a strong and stable export partner.

“We’re grateful for the continued support of the government, and look forward to developing new market opportunities to promote our Great Australian Seafood internationally under the umbrella of brand Australia.”


To find out more about the program and how SIA can help you with your international trade agenda, please contact Julie on 0404 392 311 or email her on julie@seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au.

For more information or to organise an interview please contact  SIA Communications and Public Affairs manager Jessica McInerney

E: jessica@seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au

M: 0420 695 431

Seafood Industry Australia absorbs National Aquaculture Council, launches Aquaculture Advisory Committee

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial fishing industry, has announced the absorption of the responsibilities of the National Aquaculture Council (NAC) and the launch of the Aquaculture Advisory Committee (AAC).

“First and foremost, SIA would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the NAC and those who have ensured its success,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. 

“SIA welcomes the opportunity to strengthen the representation of aquaculture on a national level, and we acknowledge our commitment to a sector that is productive, well resourced, sustainable and profitable. 

“The Australian aquaculture industry is diverse and each sector has different potential impacts of varying degrees of significance. As such, we have established the AAC with sectoral representatives from Australia’s eight key aquaculture sectors: 

● Abalone – David Wood, Yumbah Aquaculture

● Barramundi – Jo Ruscoe, Australian Barramundi Farmers Association 

● Inland Aquaculture – to be announced

● Kingfish – Rob Gratton, CleanSeas

● Mussels – David Wood, Yumbah Aquaculture

● Oysters – Andy Myers, Oysters Australia

● Prawn – Kim Hooper, Australian Prawn Farmers Association

● Salmon – Angela Williamson, Tassal 

● Tuna – Michael Van Doorn, Dinko Tuna Farmers

“The AAC has its first meeting next month and from there our first actions will be to develop a strategic plan and acquire the operational resources needed to ensure success.

“We undertake to work with the AAC, the broader industry, Government and other stakeholders to further the sector’s position as world-leaders in operations, environmental management, fish and crustacean health, biosecurity, and sustainability. We will strive for a sector that is well resourced to deliver high-quality, Australian seafood to both the domestic and international markets now and for generations to come.” 

“SIA and the new AAC will revitalise Australia’s aquaculture voice and support fulfilling aquaculture’s tremendous potential to contribute significantly to Australia’s economy and food security,” Kim Hooper former NAC Chair and AAC member representing prawns said. 

“It’s important we acknowledge the changing landscape of primary production and make necessary changes to representation to ensure the industry can focus on producing the high-quality Australian seafood we are known for. The responsibilities of NAC have found their home within SIA, and this can only enhance the strength of our aquaculture representation from a national perspective,” Ms 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 our nation’s food security. Australia’s aquaculture seafood products are a healthy, safe, and sustainable source of protein. 

“Our 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.”


For more information or to organise and 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

‘See something, say something’: Seafood peak-body responds to increased reports of illegal foreign fishing vessels

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing the Australian seafood industry, has responded to an increase in reports of illegal foreign fishing vessels off the North Coast of Australia and reminded water users to report any suspicious vessels. 

“It’s concerning to see an increase in activity of illegal Indonesian fishers in Australian waters,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said.

“The Australian seafood industry supports the Australian Fisheries Management Authority’s (AFMA) zero tolerance policy for such illegal activity. We commend AFMA for their interception of more than 100 Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels since July 1. 

“Maintaining surveillance is extremely important to the Australian seafood industry and we support the Australian Government’s proactive in-market campaign. Furthermore, we encourage industry and any other water users to proactively report any suspicious or foreign fishing vessel sightings to the relevant authorities.

“AFMA works closely with Maritime Border Command (MBC), a joint agency taskforce enabled by the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to prevent IUU fishing, and safeguard our fish stocks against exploitation by illegal foreign fishing vessels. We thank them for their hard work.” 

“MBC has set up Operation JAWLINE, a targeted operation to combat IUU and to counter the recent increase in incursions by foreign fishing vessels (FFVs) operating in Australian waters. Expanded operations to counter incursions by Indonesian FFVs includes additional vessel patrol activity by MBC vessels, supported by aerial surveillance flights,” AFMA said in a statement. 

‘Most recently our efforts have been boosted by joint operations between AFMA officers and Marine Officers from the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Fisheries, utilising their large offshore patrol vessel.

“In order to minimise the transmission of COVID-19 into the Australian community, the on-water response has necessarily been adjusted to protect our officers and the broader Australian community. Legislative forfeitures of vessels, gear or catch at sea, disposal of vessels and boarding of FFVs are conducted in accordance with COVID-safe practices.

“Between 1 July 2021 and 15 October 2021, Operation Jawline has resulted in the destruction of 15 illegal foreign fishing vessels as well as the seizure of fishing equipment and catch from an additional 86 vessels. Indonesian vessels coming into the AFZ have been targeting beche-de-mer (sea cucumber) around Cartier, Ashmore and Scott Reef in waters off north Western Australia and further south at Rowley Shoals.

“AFMA and other Australian government agencies, including the Australian Border Force are working with Indonesian officials to distribute fisheries enforcement chartlets, translated into Indonesian language, to fishing communities in the ports of Kupang and on the island of Rote in East Nusa Tenggara province. These chartlets are part of a broader engagement campaign which includes public meetings by Indonesian officials that seek to educate fishers in key ports to outline the risks of fishing illegally in Australian waters.

“Our message to foreign fishers that choose to fish outside the rules is simple. We will intercept you, you will lose your catch, your equipment and possibly even your vessel. The seizure of fishing gear and disposal of vessels serves as a reminder to those seeking to exploit Australia’s marine resources that Australian authorities have zero tolerance for such illegal activity.” 

“As an industry our priority is the ocean. It’s our future and the future of generations to come,” Ms Papacosta said.