WA Hauls in Net Full of Accolades at National Seafood Industry Awards
WA has excelled at the National Seafood Industry Awards, Australia’s biggest biennial celebration of the seafood industry, hauling in four of the eleven categories, including the Seafood Industry Producer Award, Environment Award, Seafood Industry Promotion Award and the highly sought – Young Achievers Award.
A glittering crowd made up of family, friends and industry representatives watched and cheered on as winners of all categories were announced at the tenth National Seafood Industry Awards. The awards were presented at the gala dinner, of the 2017 Seafood Directions conference, which was hosted by the NSW Seafood Industry Council in partnership with the Sydney Fish Market, at the new world-class International Convention Centre in Sydney on Thursday evening.
All States and the Northern Territory vied for honours at the awards ceremony which showcase the best of the Australian seafood industry and celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of Australia’s commercial fishing and seafood industry.
After 20 years of research and development of abalone ranching techniques, WA’s Ocean Grown Abalone (OGA) is now recognised as the world’s first commercial abalone ranch and the 2017 winner of the National Seafood Industry Producer Award.
Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) Chief Executive Officer John Harrison said that OGA had demonstrated excellence in the sustainable production of quality seafood, contributed substantially towards a positive public profile for the seafood industry and is extremely important for employment in regional areas as the company is the biggest employer in Augusta.
“The abalone produced from the sea ranch is identical to the highly sought after wild catch product”.
“This achievement will play an important role in encouraging the development of new aquaculture technology. It showcases to the world Australia is responsible in the aquaculture industry,” Mr Harrison said.
WA shone in the Environment Award, as one of Australia’s largest integrated commercial fishing companies, Austral Fisheries, took out the coveted National award. Austral, based in Perth, was recognised for its innovation and tenacity in leading the industry to become the first seafood business in the world to be certified as carbon neutral.
Once again Western Australia was highlighted as the leader in sustainable fisheries management after The Mandurah Licensed Fisherman’s Association (MLFA) was recognised for a world-first collaboration between commercial and recreational fishing sectors to protect seafood stocks when it won the Seafood Industry Promotion Award this evening.
Mr Harrison said obtaining MSC certification was a voluntary action, requiring a lot of hard work by the MLFA.
“Over a period of 15 months an independent third-party verified the sustainability of the Peel-Harvey Blue Swimmer Crab fishery – a joint recreational and commercial resource – and also the commercial sea mullet fishery”.
“The MLFA is a prime example of what can be achieved to protect the long-term viability of seafood stocks when commercial and recreational fishers join forces,” Mr Harrison said.
There was significant applause when it was announced that Asher Flynn from Fremantle Octopus was recognised when he won the National Young Achievers Award. With 15 years of experience behind him, Mr Flynn shares a strong passion for the industry and gets involved whenever possible to promote WA seafood.
“It is fantastic to see Asher’s passion and commitment to the industry. There is no doubt that he will continue to develop as an effective and respected seafood industry leader”.
“Asher is proof that regardless of your age you can help shape the seafood industry and make a positive difference,” Mr Harrison said.
WAFIC CEO John Harrison was delighted by the results, saying WA’s achievements at this year’s National Seafood Industry Awards demonstrate the dedication and hard work of those involved in WA’s commercial fishing and seafood sectors.
“The seafood industry is made up of hardworking people who are committed to advancing the Western Australian seafood industry through high quality and innovative seafood ideas.
“I would like to congratulate all of the very worthy winners for their respective awards at one of the most important events in the seafood industry calendar and recognise those who were finalists from WA also.
“It is no doubt that not only in our State but across Australia, the seafood and fishing industry has a bright future ahead,” concluded Mr Harrison.