Seafood study to investigate supply from ocean to plate

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 16th June 2008

The effects of high fuel costs and cheap imports are amongst the challenges to Queensland’s fisheries that will be investigated in a new seafood study.Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin said the diagnostic study would examine the domestic supply chain for Queensland caught prawn, coral reef fin fish, and inshore finfish species. “This joint Government and industry study has been prompted by a decrease in profitability in the commercial fishing sector, in particular the trawl industry,” Mr Mulherin said.

The project will be jointly funded by the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, the Queensland Seafood Industry Association and the Queensland Seafood Marketing Association.

“I understand that the industry is struggling and by carrying out this study we are looking to a long-term solution, not a band-aid measure,” Mr Mulherin said. “The Government is not sitting on its hands. We are working closely with in dustry’s peak bodies. Changes to management arrangements during the past eight years have ensured that Queensland’s fisheries will remain ecologically sustainable into the future. However, it is not just access to a sustainable resource that fishers need in order to be profitable.”

“Many factors are currently impacting the industry’s ability to remain viable. These include record high fuel costs, labor shortages, the wharf price received by fishers and competition with cheaper imported product,” Mr Mulherin added. “In the industry’s favour is that we have a world-class product, which in my view cannot be beaten. Queensland seafood such as prawns, scallops and bugs are clean and green product when compared with some of the cheaper imported alternatives.”

Recommendations from the report are likely to result in further collaborative efforts between Government and industry to improve profitability in the commercial fishing sector, with recommendations due in August.

“Through partnerships built during this study, any future programs to assist in marketing Queensland seafood can be designed to ensure that fair and reasonable prices are set through the entire supply chain,” Mr Mulherin said. “I am looking forward to working with all of industry to ensure we have a viable and sustainable fishing sector along our beautiful Queensland coastline so that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the best seafood in the world.”