CEO Message to Industry

Winter storms clear as industry prepares to celebrate

Well after the worst winter weather any of us have experienced for decades we’re finally starting to see some signs of an emerging spring.  With that will be some celebrations at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle on 13th August with the WA Seafood Awards dinner which will honour the best of the best of our wonderful industry.

The WA commercial fishing sector is incredibly diverse and we not only deliver a wide range of seafood products but also have some really interesting characters who make such an amazing contribution to the economic, social and cultural fabric of the coastal communities of our great State.  In recognition of these unsung heroes in our industry, over the coming months I’ll be doing some regular podcast interviews with interesting fishers operating in varying sectors in lots of different places.

Last week I was 40nm off the Dongara coast experiencing first-hand the challenges the west coast demersal sector is facing from the surge in fishing pressure from recreational fishers – and then directly relaying our concerns on to the media so that the community can gain a better understanding of the significant challenges we face.

A recording of one of my ABC radio interviews can be listened to here – and please keep an eye out for a feature TV news story on ABC over next weekend.

While on the water I recorded a WAFIC podcast interview with Port Denison skipper, Clay Bass, who talks about the family history of Bass Marine and his perspectives on the current state of the scalefish industry.  Then on the weekend I visited the Boatshed markets on the Albany waterfront and recorded an interview with local inshore fisherman Gavin Jackman, who has a market stall selling fresh fish directly to the local community on Sunday mornings – with his non-stop passion and commitment always on full display.

We also recorded a chat with some happy local customers who turn up with their kids every week to buy their favourite species such as King George whiting, flathead, bream or leatherjackets.  When we talk about our industry generating a social licence, this is fully what it’s all about. Showing how fisheries is a part of everyday life.

The only constant that we have in our industry is that we continually face never-ending challenges from every direction.  While the weather and markets can change, the broader challenges of resource access and security just keep on coming.  WAFIC is doing what it can to address these key matters but we also need the help of the fishermen and crew as important ambassadors who can set a positive example every single day in everything that we do.  As an industry, the only chance we have for a healthy future is if we pull tightly together.

I’ll provide more on this in future messages.