CEO Message to industry

Well one thing is for certain, we’ve flown right out of one crazy year and headlong into another.

Just when we thought we had some clear air, here we are in lockdown again. As I’ve been saying all along, we can’t take anything for granted and need to be prepared to face the emerging challenges – the known and the unknown – that lay ahead.

Please tune into this week’s Direct Channel podcast where I’ll elaborate further on this.  It’s quite clear that we, as an industry, need to adjust our approach if we’re going to be able to effectively navigate the path forward.

We need to be able to reframe the way we operate to ensure we can thrive in the good times, but survive and consolidate in the tough times. Our current model and sector body relationships don’t widely support this flexibility – but with some modifications, they can.

Having said that, we do have some reasons for celebration. Despite the external difficulties, we have seen some fantastic industry success stories which demonstrate how things can positively progress during hard times, so we can be best positioned for future prosperity.

What a wonderful example we have seen from the Shark Bay trawl sector which operates within a World Heritage area and marine park.  They had the foresight to realise they would inevitably endure growing pressures from environmental activists, so they grasped the challenge, got on the front foot and secured Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.  They achieved this global gold standard certification in 2015 and have just passed a comprehensive audit and re-certification in 2020.  This is a fantastic achievement that has proven their credentials and has now placed them in a position of strength to keep the critics at bay, while also capitalising on the market benefits of proven sustainability.

It’s a win-win which underpins sustainability and healthy oceans as well as applying an operational and economic model to support future growth and profitability. A fantastic achievement, well done!

So as some of us bunker down for another few days, please keep your eyes set on the future and look to discuss with your WAFIC representatives and Board members about what lies ahead. Open discussions with current, accurate information is critically important.

However our greatest strength comes with unity – so we’ve got to be all sitting in the same boat.