WAFIC CEO Letter To Members

I’ll begin this News Flash with recognition of the challenging environment Western Australia’s commercial fishers are operating in at present and the importance that we continue to work closely together to extract the best possible outcomes for the industry as a whole.

I can confirm that the Minister is committed to facilitating strong backing through government channels, including the recent management options provided to the Western Rock Lobster Council, as well as bespoke assistance solutions for a number of other fisheries.

WAFIC is currently working through these same channels to coordinate potential mitigation measures for non-WRL fisheries, including restructuring fee payments, consideration of certification costs, measures to address labour shortages and surpluses and options for additional management plan changes for quota-based export fisheries.

The Board will be meeting with the Minister’s team again this month to further progress an industry response.

Access to detailed industry information is critical so I would encourage industry members to fill in the survey which was sent out this week so that Seafood Industry Australia can accurately quantify the extent of the impact and more accurately understand the numbers of fishers exposed to the risk. This information is vitally important if we are to be able to promote a business case for additional support, so it’s in the industry’s best interests to take a few minutes to fill this out and return it.

Download the survey , fill it in and send to [email protected] if you haven’t already done so.

Pushing through this business-critical virus event effectively will require engagement from all members, so ensure you are keeping the WAFIC team and your colleagues informed of developments and requirements to keep your enterprise afloat.

I’m pleased to advise that there were some silver linings from Mandurah following the last minute CrabFest cancellation last weekend. Local fishers and restaurants rallied and ran their own small-scale promotions and I’m told sold a lot of their local catch. There’s still a lot of seafood sitting with other parties, such as the food trucks and seafood retailers, so I would encourage members to reach out and support local catch wherever possible.

On a strategic level, WAFIC is actively engaged across a wide range of working groups and meetings throughout this time. As previously mentioned, our management team and Board members are in ongoing contact with the Fisheries Minister’s office and the DPIRD Executive seeking ongoing support to mitigate coronavirus-generated market disruptions to the State’s fisheries.

WAFIC will continue to share developments on the COVID-19 issues along with information on specific business matters, such as the government stimulus packages, developing new trade opportunities post virus and managing your legal and financial obligations.

Below are some useful links to response activities relating to Coronavirus and the economic stimulus packages.

12 March 2020
Federal Government launches $17.6 billion stimulus package (https://www.pm.gov.au/media/economic-stimulus-package)

16 March 2020
COVID-19 economic response: Relief for businesses and households (https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/03/COVID-19-economic-response-Relief-for-businesses-and-households.aspx)

17 March 2020
Small business support services boosted in response to COVID-19 (https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/03/Small-business-support-services-boosted-in-response-to-COVID-19.aspx)