The NSW seafood trade is in deep crisis, with the industry facing one of the biggest fish market collapses in its history.
Key points: The industry has been in turmoil for decades and is now facing the biggest crisis of its kind in decades The state’s Seafood Industry Commission says it needs to work with suppliers and industry partners to create a plan for rebuilding the industry, while the NSW Government is struggling to find its footing The commission is set to announce new regulations and guidelines today for the industry.
Key points:The Seafood Trade Act, introduced in 1994, requires all fish sold in NSW to be inspected by a regulator before it is sold, and to have an annual report from the industry’s regulator.
Under the Seafood Import Act, fish must be sold to licensed retailers, and there must be an annual reporting system for the sector.
In 2014, the Seafur Industry Commission reported that the NSW Seafur Market had fallen from about 10 per cent of the market to 6 per cent by the end of this year, and the industry was struggling to recover.
That year, it also recommended that all seafood sales to be conducted through licensed retailers.
However, it said there was a lack of support from the NSW government, and that there was “a fundamental problem with the way the Seafurship Act is being administered”.’
We’re still on a knife edge’The Seafur industry has also suffered a massive blow to its finances in recent years, and this is just one of many sectors which are struggling to survive the downturn.
“It’s a big problem in the seafood industry, the biggest, because there are still a lot of people involved in the industry who have never had to do any fish business,” Seafur Industries Association chief executive Scott Taylor said.
“The government is still on the knife edge.
They’ve got to be really careful with their policies, because we’re still in a period of this downturn where we have a lot more people in the sector than we used to.”‘
We have no plan’For most of the seafood market’s history, the NSW industry was booming.
But in the 1990s, the boom was followed by the collapse of the commodity market, which in turn led to the collapse in the value of the commodities, as the value was largely driven by demand.
The whole market just crashed and we were out of business.””
Then we got into the downturn in 2008-09.
The whole market just crashed and we were out of business.”
Mr Taylor said the industry struggled to find buyers for its product.
“We had a lot fewer people in that market, and then we had this really tough recession,” he said.
Mr Tandak said that during the downturn, the sector saw a massive increase in the number of suppliers who wanted to get into the market, while some suppliers who were already doing business with other fish companies were also struggling.
“When they went into the industry they said, ‘We’re not going to be able to sell fish to the big players because they’re all going to have to be re-branded,’ ” he said, adding that the industry saw a significant increase in turnover.
“And that’s when the industry just started to go bust, which is what happened to the other industries that are struggling right now.”‘
It’s the same old problem’While the SeafUR industry has experienced a huge increase in demand since 2008-9, there is also a massive drop in the quantity of seafood being produced, Mr Taylor said, and also in the quality of the fish.
“There are more people going into the business, but we’re going to need to have a much better fish to produce,” he explained.
“A lot of the suppliers that are now doing business are still operating in a different industry, and they don’t know what they’re doing.”
I’m really worried about that, because it’s the exact same old situation that we’re in right now.
“In a way, the quality is a little bit worse, but there’s still a demand for seafood in Australia, and it’s not as if we’re producing less.”
If we could just do something about it, it’s going to help, but unfortunately we have no plans to do anything about it.
“Mr Tander said there were “too many unanswered questions” about the industry and the regulatory process.”
You don’t have a plan.
You don’t get the resources to get it done,” he advised.”
People don’t trust the regulators.
They don’t believe the people that are trying to get them into the fish business.