Seafood Wine Trail on the Cards for WA
Australia is no doubt renowned as having access to some of the best and most sustainable seafood in the world. Because of these factors, states around the country have been able to capitalise on the seafood tourism ride. And with plenty of examples – that work – from the Sydney Fish Market, to South Australia’s seafood safari trail – Western Australia is placed to follow suit and make our mark in the seafood tourism space.
The Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) Chair, Katie Hodson-Thomas is passionate about ensuring that the WA seafood industry and the people involved are promoted throughout the world for being producers of fine, sustainable food.
“I love this state. We keep travelling to other parts of the world, yet Western Australia has some extraordinary experiences. It is one of the best kept secrets – but we shouldn’t keep it a secret anymore.”
“As a West Aussie, we know that our seafood is some of the best. From North West barramundi, Exmouth prawns, Rottnest scallops and Mandurah crab – there are species for all taste buds.”
“And just look at the facts – according to Tourism Australia – food and wine now accounts for one in five dollars spent by international tourists in Australia. It is just so important that we capitalise and are part of this evolving space to help preserve our local fishing communities, increase jobs and promote our exuberant seafood industry.”
Coastal towns around the state ensure that WA has a rich history of fishing villages that, if planned properly, can benefit both tourists and residents.
“Heritage tourism has the potential to improve upon the preservation of historic traditions in coastal fishing communities – for generations to come.”
“We want to be able to connect the seafood that tourists enjoy – to the rich heritage and history of the industry.”
“And there are certainly lessons for Western Australian to learn how to do it.”
“The Sydney seafood market is one classic example of tapping into the seafood experience – and doing it well,” she said.
South Australia is another state promoting their ‘seafood safari’ food trail – encouraging tourists to enjoy a ‘smorgasbord of nature’s generosity’ and discover the likes of the ‘multi-million-dollar tuna industry in Port Lincoln to plucking oysters straight from the sea in Ceduna.’
The South Australian government actively promotes the trail in the seafood capital Port Lincoln to tourists, advertising the city as a destination where they will encounter fishermen, aquaculturists and growers – who account for more that 65 per cent of Australia’s total seafood catch.
Katie said that there is such huge potential for us to do the same here in Western Australia.
“There are many places around the world where they have created successful tourism themed-based trails in coastal towns to not only highlight the authentic qualities of local food producers but to sustain important aspects of industry heritage.”
“The WAFIC Board are working on creating a concept for a tourism seafood trail that promotes our seafood, wine and venues such as hotels and accommodation by working in partnerships with other industry bodies, tourism organisations and our commercial fishers.”
“We will look at examples from Scotland, South Australia, Nova Scotia in Canada and South Carolina in America – other places in the world where tourists go just for the experience to enjoy fresh, local seafood.”
Concluding Katie said that people travel to Western Australia for a full tourism experience – those experiences are around our beautiful fresh produce, connections to the producers of fine food, our crisp wine and external factors such as geography.
“We have to – and will – work with industry to ensure that WA seafood is made readily available to international visitors.”
The WAFIC Board will continue the seafood trail discussion at their scheduled June meeting and will advise progress to members.