August 2020

A message from our CEO

It’s been a busy month with some very encouraging developments.
And while there is still a long way to go in the COVID 19 episode before we can report on any significant long-term industry recovery, I’m pleased to see positive signs that some companies and fisheries are moving ahead of the curve and are rebuilding and diversifying their export markets and expanding their current sales pipelines.
We saw a major step forward last week with WAFIC working in partnership with Austrade in Taiwan, to host a virtual business-matching event with dozens of international buyers.
The WA Seafood Showcase event matched eight of our local producer and processor companies with major international seafood buyers in Taiwan.
Read the full story here.

Felicity Horn (right) working with DPIRD's Mervi Kangas on a prawn survey
Meet your WAFIC Board: Felicity Horn 

Working alongside fishermen has been an almost daily part of life for Felicity, having grown up in a commercial fishing family in Dongara and to a lesser degree, Point Samson.
This lifelong journey within the WA fishing community is reflected in Felicity’s passion for the industry and its people, which underpins her understanding of the functionality of the seafood sector and those who work within the industry.
Felicity spent a decade working in another field, including running her own business for a number of years before changing careers to commercial fishing. After completing an aquatic science degree at Curtin University, Felicity started working in WAFIC’s Resource Access area in 2001. Much of this role was spent in the regions with fishermen on access issues covering everything from resource sharing, bycatch management to new infrastructure developments.
The main driver for stepping into the role of Director was seeing decisions made where industry hadn’t been given the opportunity to provide input. She believes it is imperative that the industry is not only consulted, but involved in all decisions where businesses could be affected. 

Since joining the Board in November 2019, she was pleased to see some progress being made in a number of areas including addressing these previous issues around consultation. Also, focus on protecting fishermen’s access by re-affirming Government’s commitment to important resource access policies.
Felicity is the current Executive Officer of Shark Bay Prawn Trawler Operators’ Association (SBPTOA), a position she has held since 2016.

WA casts online net to catch new seafood exports 

Western Australia’s Fishing Industry Council is taking advantage of video-conference technology and changing market conditions to secure new export opportunities and business partners for the State’s commercial seafood industry.

The inaugural Western Australian Virtual Seafood Showcase, held on Friday 28 August, brought together eight of the State’s successful seafood exporters for a series of one-on-one presentations and business-matching sessions with dozens of Taiwan’s leading seafood importers.
Read the full story here.

Are Albany's sand crabs the next big thing in WA seafood?

WAFIC has joined forces with WA Seafood Ambassador Don Hancey and the team at Clancy’s Fish Pub to promote one of Western Australia’s lesser-known species – the Albany Sand Crab.
After years of persistent trial fishing off Albany’s south coast, local fisherman and Sand Crab pioneer Eric Tranthem has landed his ‘big one’ with the popular WA-based restaurant chain Clancy’s Fish Pub adding his little-known Sand Crabs onto its menu over coming months.

Read the full story here.


Seafood Industry Australia names new CEO

Following a long and detailed executive search and interviewing process, Seafood Industry Australia has named Veronica Papacosta as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Read the full story here.

Dr Nick Rayns to head Marine Parks compensation committee

Dr Rayns is the former Executive Manager of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and will report to DPIRD Deputy Director General, Heather Brayford on behalf of the Minister.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has announced the appointment of Dr Nick Rayns as the independent chair for a Committee of Advice which will inform the department on eligibility and the fair and reasonable compensation available under the Fishing and Related Industries Compensation (Marine Reserves) Act 1997 (FRICMA).

You’ll find more on this appointment and the program status in the FRICMA news update

Oyster harbour Zone opens up for South Coast aquaculture

Albany’s aquaculture potential has just been given a $1.3 million cash boost following the State Government’s declaration of the first stage of a new aquaculture development zone in the port city, further bolstering the region’s current shellfish farming operations.

This investment is in addition to more than $2 million to build and expand the Albany Shellfish Hatchery, which provides the oyster spat to commercial operators in Albany and across Western Australia.

Read the full story here.

Exmouth Gulf development on ice as Minister orders review
The WA Government has put the brakes on a proposed major development in Exmouth Gulf while the state's environmental watchdog assesses the cumulative impacts of industry on the pristine area.
Read the full ABC article here.

WRL Deck Program is back for 2020!

This is a great opportunity for young lobstermen and women to develop their industry knowledge, practical skills, capability and networks to continually improve their fishing operations and business management.
The workshop will be held from midday on Thursday 29 October to midday Friday 30 October in Geraldton, following the Annual Management Meeting which takes place on 28 October.
The DECK Program is open and available to anyone in the western rock lobster industry at NO COST, however, booking is essential. 
Interested applicants, or those who know of young leaders in their community are encouraged to contact Natalia by email at or give her a call on 0431 759 254
You’ll find more detailed information on the Western Rock Lobster website.

$6.5 million value add grants program now open

Applications are now open for the State Government’s $6.5 million Value Add Investment Grants.

Businesses undertaking value-adding activities for primary production and seeking funding to support capital, or de-risking investment, are encouraged to apply.

You’ll find out more here.

Exmouth Engagement Community Forum
9 September

Join us on Wednesday 9 September at the Ningaloo Function Centre in Exmouth for an independent community forum, which will look at the history of the Exmouth Managed Prawn Fishery from inception in 1963 through to present day.

The event will include an overview on how the fishery has attained Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification through a collaborative science-based approach between government and the private sector. MSC is the global gold standard for third-party certification.

The forum will include an update on how the Exmouth Prawn Fishery is managed, followed by the opportunity for participants to ask questions on management practices associated with the fishery.

The presentations commence at 6.30pm, with questions and networking from 7.30pm.

Join us on the day. No registration required.
You'll find more information in the event flyer.

Parliamentary Committee tables report on WA Workplace Safety Legislation

This is an important Bill that has enormous impacts on WA’s seafood industry, so please take a look and get involved.

The Standing Committee on Legislation (WA Parliament) tabled its report on the Work Health & Safety Bill 2019 (WHS Bill) earlier this month.
The report includes consideration of the ‘industrial manslaughter’ offences under s30A and s30B and the proposed additional duties on safety service providers under section 26A.
The report notes a lot of information provided through the submissions and parliamentary inquiry process, sets out some findings but does not make strong recommendations regarding the key issues raised by the Joint Industry Group, of which WAFIC is a member.
As part of the Joint Industry Group, WAFIC is continuing to advocate strongly against both the industrial manslaughter (30A, 30B and the wording of 31) and safety duties (section 26A) sections in the WHS Bill.
You are strongly encouraged to have discussions with the Liberals, Nationals, Greens and Cross-Benchers.
The Bill will come back before the WA Upper House for debate and we will keep members updated on its progress.
A copy of the
Standing Committee Report is available here

Federal Government launches new guide to digital transformation

Operating a business online has never been more important. To help you get it right, this new Guide to Digital Transformation provides a step-by-step tool that walks you through the process of going digital in your business.

You can download more information here.

This month’s safety update includes news on:
  • Parliamentary Committee Tables Report on WA Workplace Safety Legislation
  • Seafood Industry Mental Health ‘Early Intervention’ Pilot Program Launched
  • Marine Rescue Propose Takeover of VHF Channel 77 in Metro Area
  • AMSA Safety Alert
  • New free and half-price training opportunities
Download the latest updates here or visit the WAFIC website.
If you have a story or important information to share about WA's fishing industry, please email your contributions to and we will try and include them in our next newsletter.


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