September 2020

A message from our CEO

As the new CEO of WAFIC it is a privilege to be able to serve the interests of the commercial fishing people of the State.  Your efforts have long drawn my admiration and I will always be a strong defender and advocate for your industry, sectors, communities and families.
Chairman Murray and the Board have made it absolutely clear that they want me out and about - on the deck, beach and factory floor – meeting with the people that matter most – the fishers. 
Over coming weeks you’ll also see some new initiatives being introduced which will improve communication between WAFIC and those on the water – the Board is adamant that improvements need to be made - so watch this space.

Read the full message here.
New horizons for Alex Ogg
I stepped into the chief executive role 18 months ago with support from Chair Ron Edwards and the WAFIC Board, to implement WAFIC’s new strategic plan, initiate Seafood WA as the public face of our industry and to help members navigate the challenges in what has proved to be a turbulent and volatile environment through 2020.
After working hard to assist industry survival and recovery and deliver on these commitments I made the difficult decision to leave WAFIC in July and have now handed the reins over to Darryl Hockey, as the new WAFIC chief executive.  Darryl is both talented and filled with enthusiasm and I am certain he will serve WAFIC and its members well in the years ahead.
In difficult times, I’ve been buoyed by the improved working relationships WAFIC has with our industry and external stakeholders and parliamentary affiliates. Throughout COVID-19 we have worked together to dissolve traditional barriers and roadblocks and we are now seeing some exceptional outcomes emerging through our new working groups, along with a renewed trust and confidence in our relationships that is now fast-tracking and delivering on projects which had previously languished. In addition, WAFIC has recently finalised a raft of important policy positions which should form stronger foundations for issues such as resource allocation, industry consensus and improvement of fisher rights under ARMA.
There are still many challenges ahead, but we are well positioned to confidently move forward into the post COVID-19 marketplace with an understanding of a changing world and the importance of market diversification.
I would like to recognise and thank my staff and colleagues within the WAFIC team, who are quietly delivering amazing outcomes for the seafood industry every day of the week.  Their support for industry as a resource through the COVID-19 shutdown, in an operating environment which was changing daily, was nothing short of amazing. My sincere gratitude to this infrequently recognised and superb group of individuals, team WAFIC- and a vote of confidence to their new leader.
My best wishes to our seafood industry and those of you who support it.  It’s been a swell ride, I’ll see you around.
Alex Ogg
Feel free to contact me at my new address:, or phone: 0409 378 225.

Tony has more than three decades of hands-on experience across WA fisheries
Meet your WAFIC Board:
Tony Westerberg (Vice-Chair)

Commercial fishing has been a life-long pursuit for Tony, who got his first lines wet in 1975 while catching pilchards with his father along the State’s southern coast.

After completing a mechanical apprenticeship, Tony jumped at the chance to tour the world before joining his brother in 1986 to pursue fishing as a career back in Western Australia.

The ambitious brothers together purchased a fishing boat and processing factory in Albany, while relocating to Broome to commercially fish for Spanish Mackerel for around six months every year.

After seven years in the tropics, Tony moved back to Albany full time in 2002 to fish salmon, pilchards and herring, where he repurchased the processing factory which he still operates today.

Tony’s broad experience across multiple fisheries and bioregions ensures he has a thorough understanding of the industry and its role in supporting the economy and regional development. He is a passionate industry representative and has a special interest in developing the potential for the Southern fisheries and promoting the ‘Buy Local’ seafood message.

Tony was appointed as a Board Member of WAFIC in 2018 and is a member of WAFIC’s Resource Access Sub-Committee.

When he isn’t fishing, Tony enjoys travelling the world with his wife.

Albany has been gazetted as a south coast aquaculture development zone.

South Coast aquaculture proposal
WAFIC CEO Darryl Hockey last week travelled to Esperance and Albany to meet with DPIRD and local fishers in relation to the proposed development of aquaculture zones. 
The meetings provided a mixed bag of outcomes, with further work required by government.
Read the full story here.

Albany sand crabs are a sell out 

Demand for Albany’s delicious sand crabs has skyrocketed with early orders outstripping supply, as WA seafood lovers start buying up these ‘newly discovered’ crabs.
The lesser-known crab species is in plentiful supply along the southern coast but has been previously overlooked in favour of its more famous Blue Swimmer cousins.
Read the full story here.

Back of boat sales brings cheap lobsters to locals

Changes to legislation to allow commercial rock lobster fishers to sell up to 100 lobsters per day directly from the back of boat is tipped to finally deliver a regular supply of lobsters for local consumption.

Under the changes, Western Rock Lobster fishers will be able to directly supply local restaurants, fresh fish retailers and the public.

The changes are a direct outcome of lobbying from peak industry body, Western Rock Lobster, in response to the dramatic decline in export demand for western rock lobster as a result of COVID-19.

Lobster sales into China plummeted immediately following the outbreak of COVID-19 and are slowly rebuilding, however there is growing interest to diversify sales pipelines to reduce reliance on one key export market. Previously about 95 per cent of WA lobsters were exported to China.

Other changes include extending the current season to 18 months, bringing forward a proportion of the 2021 season quota and introducing new measures to minimise the likelihood of whale interactions.

WA Fisheries Minister, Peter Tinley said the 230 boats servicing the fishery can now land up to 100 lobsters each fishing trip to sell from the back of boat.

“This also presents a unique tourism opportunity for our coastal fishing towns to promote back of boat sales to visitors and help them to enjoy fresh lobster bought directly from the fishers who caught it,” he said.

The changes ensure that the sales quota for back-of-boat sales remains within the sustainability limits for the fishery.

WAFIC represents industry at Senate Committee into seismic testing 
The Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) took centre stage last week at the Australian Senate inquiry into the impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine environment.
The Senate Inquiry received more than 80 submissions from individuals, organisations and exploration companies.
To read more and view WAFIC‘s submission (number 67) and the submissions from other peak bodies and individuals in the commercial fishing industry please click this link.
Join Pan Pacific's seafood celebration
Pan Pacific Hotel Perth’s Uma restaurant has joined a growing number of venues supporting WA seafood with a commitment to include more local seafood on their menus.
As part of this promotion, Uma’s Executive Chef, Alejandro Saravia and his team are unveiling a West Australian six-course seafood extravaganza of gargantuan proportions featuring Southern Sea garfish, gorgeous Leeuwin Coast Akoya pearl oysters, glamourous local Crystal crab, and glistening Abrolhos Island scallops all sustainably sourced in collaboration with Fins Seafood.
The dinner is a part of The West Australian Good Food Guide Spring ABCs Dining Series presented by Audi with a ‘G’ themed produce dinner on Wednesday 7 October 2020 from 7pm.
Courses will be paired with wines from Swan Valley winery, Bella Ridge Estate.
The evening will also feature guest speakers including Uma’s Executive Chef Alejandro Saravia and Bella Ridge Estates owner and winemaker Alon Arbel.
Click for more information and bookings. 

Erica Starling and Justine Arnold. Courtesy ABC Rural:Jo Prendergast
Indian Ocean Fresh Australia hits pause for 12 months

COVID-19 disruptions and a global oversupply of fish in aquaculture facilities has seen Western Australia's only yellowtail kingfish aquaculture producer, Indian Ocean Fresh Australia, pause its operations for 12 months.
Indian Ocean Fresh Australia owner and managing director Erica Starling said the lockdown of the hospitality sector in the eastern states, and Melbourne’s second lockdown had a dramatic impact on food service suppliers.
Read the full ABC News story here.

WAFIC report studies COVID impacts 

As part of WAFIC’s COVID-19 recovery plan, we have engaged two UWA research interns to construct a report outlining the commercial impacts on the State’s seafood sector as a result of COVID-19.
The researchers have been working for around six weeks using feedback from our online survey as well as detailed qualitative research obtained through interviews with industry members.

The report will help identify these impacts and will also present ideas for how we can work with government to manage future initiatives and develop a model for overseeing financial assistance programs.
If any of our Western Australian-based fisheries haven’t already participated in the study, please take 10 minutes to complete the online survey, which can be

opened here.  

If you prefer to make your comments by phone, 
please email WAFIC with your preferred time and contact details.
The survey closes mid-month, with the report completed shortly afterwards.
Report findings will be shared with the industry once published.

Thriving marine life captured on video off WA's south west coast

In late July, researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) took advantage of easing COVID restrictions and headed out into the National Park Zone of the South-west Corner Marine Park.

Surveys used bathymetry data collected with multibeam-sounders mounted on a local commercial wet line fishers’ vessel and baited cameras were dropped from a local charter and ex-cray fishers’ boat.

The team were rewarded with images of dhufish, pink snapper, rays and cuttlefish across deeper reefs covered in kelp, seagrass and sponge gardens.

The data collected from July is being used to plan larger and deeper surveys this October. Once collected, the surveys will produce seafloor maps and a range of baseline information for the marine park, including the type, location and extent of habitats alongside the diversity and abundance of marine species.

Watch the underwater vision of the surveys of South-west Corner Marine Park's habitats and fishes
The aim of this project, funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program Marine Biodiversity Hub, UWA and Parks Australia, is to provide the essential knowledge necessary to understand our offshore habitats on Australia’s continental shelf and assess the biodiversity conservation impacts of marine parks around the Capes.

The South-west Corner Marine Park is managed by Parks Australia. More information and arrangements for commercial fishing in Australian Marine Parks can be found on the Parks Australia website and guidance on loading marine park boundaries and zones into your plotter can be found here


SIA hits back at irresponsible media reporting
Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) have hit back at inflammatory media reporting and irresponsible statements made News Corp Australia/Courier Mail, journalist Jackie Sinnerton.
The statements made were in regard to Australian fish-stocks, the use of threatened or endangered species in fish and chips, and seafood labelling requirements.
News Corporation has since review SIA’s complaint and admitted to lazy reporting. The newspaper will now run a balancing positive piece to send an accurate message. 
Read the full 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.

This month’s safety update includes news on:
  • Do I need a Certificate of Medical Fitness to drive my boat?
  • Expiry dates extended for Certificates of Competency and Medical Fitness
  • AMSA - General exemptions extended until 30 June 2025
  • Authorities still considering abolishing HF radio channels
  • Float-free EPIRBS mandatory by January 2021
  • New Fishtec and Aquabiotics Courses approved by National Training Body
  • AMSA data verification and application simplification progress
  • AMSA vessel inspections overview
  • Marine incidents data in Australia 2019
  • AMSA proposals for inshore vessel marine safety
  • Engine International Air Pollution Prevention (EIAPP) Certificates
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
Food Alliance WA jobs in Food and Ag website is at:
L1, 56 Marine Tce. Fremantle WA 6160
PO Box 1605, Fremantle WA 6959
T (08) 9432 7708
F (08) 9432 7700
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