June 2020

A message from our CEO

It’s been interesting watching the changing health and economic landscapes across Australia over the last month.
While we are living with only minor restrictions in WA, some of our eastern colleagues are still bunkered down and doing it tough as Australia’s east and west coasts struggle under a two-speed economy. 
There’s also been a lot of changes and developments over the month.
Click to read more.

Paul Catalano takes a hands-on approach to seafood, working across all areas of the business.
Meet your WAFIC Board: Paul Catalano 

If you haven’t met Paul Catalano, you will almost certainly have seen the family name shared across signs, seafood packaging and trucks around Western Australia.
As business development manager of the Catalano Seafood business, Paul brings with him a broad overview of the entire seafood supply chain, from fishing operations to processing opportunities, right through to wholesale distribution and retail sales.
Like a number of Board members, Paul’s seafood journey started with land-based farming, as the son of a pioneering potato farmer in Waroona.
After enduring the frustrations of dealing with the State’s Potato Board, the family moved to the city and opened a fish and chip shop in Cannington, which led to bigger and braver expansions into the seafood industry, including the creation of the Catalano Seafoods retail division.
In addition, Paul has developed a dedicated toll-processing hub division which facilitates a link to market for fishing and aquaculture companies by providing integrated services of Research and Development, consulting, processing, packaging and market connections.
In joining the Board, Paul’s detailed knowledge of post-harvest processing adds a focus and voice to downstream value-adding for the industry, while his connections to export marketing are proving invaluable.
He is an advocate for an “inclusive” WAFIC that engages with the full seafood supply chain from the combined science and management brought together by industry and government through to the end consumer, whose choices ultimately determine industry viability and oceanic sustainability.
50 years on, the rest is history. Although the family farm is a hobby now days, Paul has retained an appreciation for the challenges in primary production and is an advocate of the need to educate consumers on the seafood industry to ensure they are engaged and can make informed choices regaining purchases of local seafood and also understand the industry’s connections and need for sustainable healthy oceans.

Winning the battle for Shark Bay's blue swimmer crabs 

After being decimated by floods and a marine heatwave, Shark Bay's blue swimmer crabs are reporting their best season in more than a decade as local stocks rebound on the back of a long-term management plan.
It hasn't been an easy battle, but patience and planning has set the Shark Bay fishery up for what looks like a long and prosperous future.

Read the full story here.

IFAM air freight subsidies extended

WA exporters will welcome news that the important air freight subsidy program operated through the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) has been extended by the Federal Government until December 2020.

This extension is worth $240 million and will help our wild-catch fishers and aquaculture operations to continue to supply important seafood, marine aquarium and agri-food exports to key international markets including China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.


The restoration of regular freight channels is vital to industry recovery and the IFAM program is a cornerstone to rebuilding these transport routes so we can continue to deliver our high-quality Australian seafood to our high priority markets.

You’ll find the full media release here. 

However, under IFAM, freight priority has been given to high-volume products into high-priority markets. We understand for non-lobster, smaller seafood and marine aquarium exporters in WA that there has been little monetary support from IFAM due to the limitations of facilitating consolidated volume across multiple freight agents, multiple seafood / marine aquarium items and multiple companies.  

WAFIC is continuing to work with DPIRD to improve this assistance and to do this we again need you to provide your updated forward freight requirements. As per the WAFIC email sent to exporters on 30 July, we look forward to your reply with your updated information covering:

  • Anticipated export demand
  • Preferred destination/market
  • Product type
  • Fresh/live/frozen
  • Volume
  • Frequency
  • Freight issues

Please email the above information to Amanda Beaton at WAFIC – by Friday 7 August 2020.

SIA launches new mental health pilot program for fishers

Australia’s commercial fishers have been delivered a major mental health pilot program aimed specifically at supporting Australia’s fishing communities.

The $600,000 Federal Government-funded program is kicking off with three pilot trials – one each in Victoria, News South Wales and the Northern Territory.

Learnings from the Seafood Industry Australia trial will shape future programs across Australia.

Read the full story here.


New boat ramp confirmed for Canal Rocks

South West fishers, divers and tourism operators will welcome news that the WA Government has issued a tender for the construction of a new boat ramp at Canal Rocks, south of Yallingup.
The current boat ramp has been operational since the 1970s but has been more recently dogged by risk of closure due to safety concerns associated with its use.
The new boat ramp will be designed to accommodate use by recreational and commercial vessel operators, as well as the Naturaliste Volunteer Marine Rescue group.
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has released a tender for the project, with works expected to be completed by the end of the year, weather conditions permitting.
Tender information can be viewed here.
Photo courtesy Recfishwest.

WA fisher and GFC member, Ben Pethick, works alongside Brolos Fresh Manager, Luke Emery, to unload the catch.
Off-the-boat sales a hit in Geraldton

Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative has launched a new seafood experience that will enhance tourism around the Geraldton waterfront and provide an exciting new retail channel for local seafoods.

The project allows people to visit the Geraldton Fisherman’s Wharf as a boat comes in to unload its catch. They can then watch fish being filleted and buy them within minutes, along with live lobsters.

The project is being supported by a number of local fishermen who are licenced to supply lobsters and fresh fish.

Read the full story here.

Update on Ngari Capes Marine Park compensation program

WAFIC is working with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) to resolve marine park compensation issues as soon as possible.

Read the full story here.

Ensure your plotter is up to date with the latest marine park information

To help you stay compliant with marine park boundaries and zones, our colleagues at the Marine Parks branch of Parks Australia have sent us a simple ‘how-to’ guide and tips on how to update information in your plotter.
You’ll find all you need to know right here.

SIA Director nominations now open

Are you interested in becoming a Director of Seafood Industry Australia?
Do you know someone who would be the perfect fit?
Applications are now open for SIA’s 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) Director rotation.

There will be a rotation and member vote to appoint three (3) SIA Director positions at the AGM  to be held on Thursday, October 1, 2020. As such, they have opened calls for six (6) Director nominees for election, by voting members, to the three (3) open positions.
Voting will take place from a pool of all candidates.

Click here to download a copy of the SIA Director Information Kit.

Click here for a copy of the SIA Director Nomination Form.

Nominations must be submitted via email to Chair of the Nominations Committee, Marshall Betzel, by 5pm AEST on Friday, 21 August via

SIA encourages all members to consider applying.

Make your comments on Western Australia's Aquaculture Development Plan

With Western Australia’s aquaculture industry growing and diversifying, the State Government has released its draft Aquaculture Development Plan for public comments.

The Aquaculture Plan has been developed by the Aquaculture Industry Engagement Consortium and addresses the key issues which have commonly been considered as barriers to the development of a viable aquaculture industry in WA.

Now in its final draft, the plan has been released for public comment before its launch.

The plan is open for comment until 18 August 2020 and can be downloaded here.

You can read more about the plan on the WAFIC News website.

This month’s safety update includes news on:
  • Concern over proposed changes to Industrial Manslaughter laws
  • AMSA offices re-open
  • Fatigue Management Guidelines have been released
  • Workplace Safety laws versus Marine Safety laws
  • Changes to EPIRB laws
  • New rules for passenger vessels
  • Free training opportunities
  • SeSafe Online Training Program
  • Extended transition period for seafood and aquaculture industry qualifications
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.


© 2020  WAFIC
COVID-19 information for the commercial fishing industry – health, state and federal government assistance and advice via the WAFIC website
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