Industry Stakeholders Talk WA Seafood with Members of Parliament
Over forty Members of Parliament had the opportunity to not only enjoy premium Western Australian seafood but hear directly from the commercial fishing industry about WA’s seafood sector at a Parliament House cocktail function last night.
The function, hosted by the Hon. Dave Kelly MLA, Minister for Fisheries, the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), was specifically held during Australian Sustainable Seafood Week (March 11-17) to promote and celebrate Western Australia’s accomplishment as having one of the most sustainable and formally certified seafood industries in the world.
In addition to metropolitan representatives, industry members travelled from many coastal fishing-based regional communities throughout Western Australia to speak directly with our State Parliamentarians about WA’s strong sustainable management of fisheries and commercial fishing realities.
Although the certainties of working in the commercial seafood industry are much less positive due to government red tape, external influences and misconceptions – the night was a significant opportunity for Parliamentarians to talk directly with fishing industry representatives to have a better understanding of issues, dispel negatives and myths and focus on the future.
John Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), confirmed that the event provided a platform to raise awareness and support for Western Australia’s commercial fishing industry.
“Last night proved an excellent opportunity for industry members to be transparent by sharing stories, details, truths and vital information face-to-face with Members of Parliament. It was a chance for our seafood men and women, to have honest and raw conversations and share their opinion on the future of the WA seafood industry.”
“Often in this primary industry, there are plenty of misconceptions and mistruths often fuelled by uneducated voices across social media platforms – but not enough opportunities to dispel and advocate the truth. Our industry, united, had a prime-time opportunity last night to have a much-needed voice in front of our State Parliamentarians,” he said.
On offer throughout the evening was an abundance of dynamic and appetising seafood dishes which featured the likes of South-West shark, Mandurah mullet, Geraldton kingfish and Abrolhos Island Scallops kindly donated by WA producers. There was also a touch of theatrics – with an oyster shucker on site handing out Albany oysters alongside a variety of condiments. A menu was also provided detailing the origin of each species to make a point that the seafood presented was directly from the coastline of Western Australia.
Whilst dishes were weaving in and out through the crowds, The Hon. Minister Kelly MLA; Patrick Caleo (MSC’s Asia Pacific Regional Director); and Ron Edwards (WAFIC Chair) each gave a short presentation about WA’s sustainable fisheries.
Mr Harrison said the clear theme from each speaker was that our commercial fisheries are world-class and envied across the globe.
“A top priority for our commercial seafood industry is the sustainability of our fisheries – reiterated by each speaker last night. We have a lot to celebrate in Western Australia including the 11 fisheries which are in the MSC program – accounting for close to 90% of annual production by value from our WA fisheries.”
Concluding Mr Harrison said he wanted State Parliamentarians to have left this event feeling confident about WA’s commercial fisheries and to assist by promoting WA’s seafood industry as much as possible.
“These functions are very important to promote our strong, sustainable, dynamic and vital seafood industry. We will work to ensure this is an annual event so our commercial fishing industry members can meet directly with Parliamentary Members to discuss issues face-to-face.”
“We now urge State Parliamentarians to be positive advocates for the greater good of the commercial fishing industry. This activism will not just be for industry men and women – but for the broader community who deserve the truth and freedom of choice to enjoy fresh, local, sustainable WA seafood,” he said.
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Click link to read (media release) from the Hon. Dave Kelly ‘Science plays a vital role in sustainable seafood’