New Southern Regional Sector Body gets the Green Light
A $750,000 investment into a soon to be formed Southern Seafood Producers (WA) Association received unanimous support from the WAFIC Board at its 19 June meeting in Fremantle. Spread across a minimum of three years, the investment will assist producers in forming a new model for sectoral representation for the metro Perth region to the South Australian border.
WAFIC Chair, Clayton Nelson, feels this decision represents a watershed moment for the approximately twenty-one southwest and south coast community based fisheries, which are to include the existing abalone industry sector. “If we get this sector right, it will provide a template for future representation of fisheries across Western Australia, and raise the bar in terms of WAFIC adding value to our seafood industry, our community and the WA government” said Nelson. “We responded to the needs of our southern producers, who have clearly demonstrated their commitment to a new sector body, which will be driven by elected representatives from the Metro, Southwest, Albany, and Esperance regions.”
WAFIC’s decision to support the call for help for these fisheries was based upon a series of targeted WAFIC consultations from Perth to Esperance, in response to suggestions raised by seafood producers at the WAFIC AGM in late 2015. Following a decision taken by the WAFIC Board in 2016, extensive consultation with industry and relevant community stakeholders was undertaken by former WA Fisheries Director General, Dr Peter Rogers, with critical assistance provided by the Industry Consultation Unit, led by Angus Callander and supported by Meg Cundy.
Dr Roger’s report was commissioned by WAFIC earlier this year, and is nearing its final draft. Details of the governance structure and financial arrangements between WAFIC and the new sector body will need to be fleshed out following the finalisation of this process. The draft report however, clearly identifies the demand and drivers for an industry driven representation model across multiple fisheries across the regions, and outlines the way forward for Southern Seafood Producers.