Get your Crabs and Learn about the Commercial Fishing Industry at Mandurah Crab Fest 2019
This weekend over one hundred thousand West Australians will flock to Mandurah to attend this year’s Crab Festival, concluding Australian Sustainable Seafood Week (March 11-17), which acknowledges WA’s prestigious, highly-regarded and world-class fisheries.
This two-day event pays homage to one of the city’s celebrated and iconic locals – the blue swimmer crab (Portunus armatus) found in the Mandurah estuary and the broader Peel region. The star of the show will feature heavily across live cooking displays with celebrities, food stalls and entertainment.
John Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, of the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), said that the popular event, a favourite amongst families, is the perfect platform to educate all ages about WA’s seafood producers.
“There are many Western Australians who are connected to the seafood industry via inter-generational fishing families, businesses and as consumers. But due to a range of different reasons don’t follow the industry trends or necessarily know the facts.”
Mr Harrison said he understands that it is difficult for the public to trust a primary industry when there are mistruths running rampant online, found in pop-culture and even in day-to-day media.
“This primary industry is constantly fighting battles of public perception and social license stigmas. But if the seafood is from WA waters you have reassurance that it is safe, well-managed and there is the added benefit of supporting local fishing families and businesses.”
WAFIC, the commercial fishing industry and the team from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) will be using the Mandurah Crab Festival to encourage the public to get to know your ‘sustainable fisheries’, promote the benefit of ‘choosing local’ and to endorse the uptake of ‘lesser known species’ such as mullet and sardines.
“WA seafood ambassador and renown chef, Don Hancey, will be spruiking lesser known species by handing out free samples of Mandurah mullet. Mendolia Seafoods have also kindly donated locally caught sardines for a delicious taste tester for festival visitors.”
“We want to hear from our community taste-testers! Last year, the mullet samples went like hotcakes. Many people who thought it was only a bait fish, were pleasantly surprised with how versatile and tasty this species can be!”
“Industry members will be at the WAFIC / MSC joint stand, so we encourage you to pay a visit and meet Exmouth professional fisher Rikki Hillman, a third-generation operator in the Exmouth Beach Seine and Mesh Net Fishery, and well-known local multi-generational professional Mandurah crab fisher Damien Bell.”
“That is the whole purpose of the WA fishing industry – having a stall at the Mandurah Crab Festival to educate the community about this great sustainable industry, to encourage people to try new species and to make everyone feel confident about cooking with seafood.”
“Many locals are still unaware that Western Australia leads the world in sustainable fisheries management. For example, in 2016, the Peel-Harvey Estuarine Fishery became Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified in a world-first collaboration between commercial and recreational fishing sectors to protect seafood, in particular our much-loved blue swimmer crab stocks.”
“That achievement, right on the doorstep of metropolitan Perth, means that this fishery, from a commercial and recreational fishing perspective, has been rigorously assessed and passed the world’s most stringent scientific standards. We couldn’t be prouder of the dedication, commitment and enthusiasm from our fishing industry members ensuring sustainable commercial fishing for the enjoyment of our seafood purchasing community for generations to come.”
Concluding Mr Harrison said that events such as the Mandurah Crab Festival act as an important educational tool to assist the community to become more aware of the world-class seafood industry on their doorstep.
“There are a lot of creative success stories across the seafood industry achieved by determination, resilience, vision and creativity. The seafood industry is worth over $600 million to the economy on a GVP basis and, in addition, provides thousands of jobs across the supply chain.”
“We ask the Western Australian community to back its seafood producers so we can maintain a continued supply available for the purchase of fresh, local and sustainable seafood into the future,” he said.
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The joint WAFIC/MSC stall will be situated by the entrance to this year’s 2019 Mandurah Crab Festival (near Dome Cafe). We encourage you to get down, say hi and learn about our commercial fisheries.