CEO Message to Industry
While there is still a long way to go in the COVID 19 episode before we can report on any significant long-term industry recovery, I’m pleased to see positive signs that some companies and fisheries are moving ahead of the curve and are rebuilding and diversifying their export markets and expanding their current sales pipelines.
We saw a major step forward last week with WAFIC working in partnership with Austrade in Taiwan, to host a virtual business-matching event with dozens of international buyers.
The WA Seafood Showcase event matched eight of our local producer and processor companies with major international seafood buyers in Taiwan.
The event was opened by the WAFIC CEO and local Austrade commissioner and commenced with company and product introductions before breaking into one-on-one business meetings to discuss products, price and supply. Samples of all products were made available to the delegates and were prepared onsite by a brigade of Taiwanese chefs.
We are using this digital forum to help companies establish long-term trade agreements, but we are equally keen to build strong, enduring relationships that will help us weather these challenging times and uncertain political environments moving forward.
All reports suggest the premier event was an outstanding success and we’ll be working with Austrade and our industry members to identify new opportunities for offshore markets in coming weeks.
This is a fantastic step forward and demonstrates that Western Australia is moving onto the front foot with the expansion and diversification of its markets at a time when some other states are stagnant or hibernating.
Speaking with my interstate colleagues recently painted a vivid picture of the vastly different experiences industry face across Australia and highlights that the country is not operating in a simple two-speed economy, but rather a complex multi-speed economy that is constantly accelerating or slowing in many states – particularly Victoria and New South Wales – which makes it hard for them to undertake long-term planning with any confidence.
Closer to home our seafood retail and food service sectors are booming as restaurants are full once again and people are buying more local products in Perth metro as well as the regions.
To support the ‘Buy Local’ message and help promote some of our lesser-known species, WAFIC has been working with WA Seafood Ambassador, Don Hancey, and the team at Clancy’s Fish Pub to get Albany’s Sand Crabs on the menu.
These crabs, known colloquially around Albany as ‘toe-nippers’ are a common local sight but have not had the street appeal to compete against its more famous Blue Swimmer relatives in terms of commercial demand.
Clancy’s head chef gave them a taste-test and loved their high meat content and sweet taste, so you’ll soon find them on the menu for a two-month promotion and further sales based on market demand.
News has already leaked out about the new crabs and early demand is so high tomorrow night’s launch function sold out a week before the event.
You’ll see more news like this over coming months as WAFIC launches a new consumer-facing seafood brand called Seafood WA, which will share our seafood messages and industry stories with the general public and local communities.
We are very excited about this new seafood promotion, so keep your eyes open for more as we move into warmer weather and what promises to be a lovely Spring.
Chief Executive Officer