CEO Debrief: September
The month of September was action packed with meetings and events as I started to make introductions as WAFIC’s new CEO and connect the dots between industry and external parties. We welcomed a Chinese Delegation of seafood professionals where WAFIC presented a high-level overview of our unique industry. Industry members were invited to attend with great uptake; it was great to see strong interest and engagement with the delegation representatives from GFC, Fremantle Octopus, Fremantle Sardines, Paspaley, SSPWA and others. A high importance item to industry, was adding new species to the China approved import list to facilitate trade, i.e. Australian salmon, scallop family, beche de mer and blue swimmer crab. As an outcome from the meeting, I will be formally writing to the head of the delegation who has offered her support and networks to assist with formalising the inclusion of these species on the China importation list.
This week was all about the important partnership between WAFIC and the WA Police, which acknowledges industry’s long-term role in protecting our borders against criminal and biosecurity threats and provides safe protocols for reporting suspicious activities. We received a great amount of media coverage across all major media channels such as The West Australian, Community News, Channel 7, 9, 10, 6PR 882, 720 ABC Perth, Mix 94.5, and Hit 92.9. Regional media included GWN News, ABC and 93.7 Coast FM. Ron Edwards had two interviews with ABC Mid-West and Wheatbelt AM and ABC South West WA. I think this comment made by an ABC Goldfields listener sums it up: Good on the fishing industry – eyes on the water! Government across Australia need all the help they can get to protect our way of life. If we can help WAPOL keep our coastal communities safer in any way – then we will.
I also got a gig on ABC regional radio, explaining the importance of the recently announced public inquiry on seismic exploration. I was able to articulate the risks to our northern fisheries from the imperfect science around seismic impacts on marine life and how WAFIC is stepping into this space to improve consultation with the offshore petroleum sector and outcomes for our producers.
Additionally, on the media front, it has been excellent to see the amount of positive content from various channels coming in. We’ve seen fishers Glen Hoult and Jimmy Polland on film talking about their life up in Shark Bay, an article promoting the hard-work by licence holders into ensuring a sustainable future for the beloved species – Pinctada Maxima, the aquaculture industry on providing locals with jobs and a special lady by the name of Muriel ‘Moo’ Thomas recognised for her work in the Western Rock Lobster industry at the Abrolhos Islands. These stories are critical for us as a primary industry to be able to continually showcase to our communities who we are and what we do.
A Friday bonus was confirmation from DPIRD that certificates of eligibility for compensation in relation to the Ngari Capes marine park were issued today, after several months of diligent prodding by WAFIC’s resource access team. It is the long weekend after all – so we do hope to hear that you are enjoying Western Australian seafood with your friends and family. We also recommend that you pop over to the new Kailis’ restaurant in Fremantle which reopens this Sunday. Such an iconic part of the community – it is great to see the family’s legacy continue. There will be lots of delicious WA species to choose from including plenty of underutilised species.