Towards seafood's future

The seafood sector’s national conference Seafood Directions will examine what the future of fishing in Australia could look like – and how to get there

By Catherine Norwood

This year’s Seafood Directions conference, Sea the Future, will be held in Sydney from Wednesday 27 September to Friday 29 September 2017. The Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, will officially launch the conference proper at the International Convention Centre, Sydney, on Thursday, following the welcome reception on Wednesday evening.

Ros Harvey, founder and managing director of The Yield.
Photo of Craig Rispin Sydney-based business futurist Craig Rispin will deliver the opening keynote address at this year’s Seafood Directions conference.

The opening keynote speaker will be Craig Rispin, who will set the scene for presentations and discussion to follow with some ‘blue-sky’ thinking about what could be possible for the seafood sector in five, 10 and 20 years.

Originally from the US, Craig Rispin is a Sydney-based business futurist and innovation expert, helping to identify emerging business, people and technology trends – think drones, 3D printing fish fillets – and how companies can profit from them.

Several presentation during the conference are designed to prompt discussion by presenting ideas from other sectors or from seafood sectors in other countries

These include:

  • marketing lessons from the pork industry from Peter Haydon, general manager of marketing for Australian Pork Ltd;
  • rebuilding New Zealand’s Orange Roughy fisheries and links to new reputation-related initiatives outlined by Tim Pankhurst, chief executive of Seafood New Zealand (see Australia's rough road to recovery); and
  • the experience of health supplements manufacturer Blackmores in exporting to China from Blackmores chief operating officer Richard Henfrey.

A session on health and safety and gear technologies will run concurrently with a session on community and consumers on Thursday afternoon, followed by a combined session focused on efforts to improve the productivity and reduce the environmental impact of fishing.

The potential to harvest fisheries data for improved performance, management and marketing will feature in Friday’s opening session. This will include presentations from KPMG’s Jono Gregory, who was previously executive director of business operations with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, which incorporates the seafood sector.

Visiting from the US, founder of SmartCatch Mark Dahm will discuss precision fishing and digital management systems designed tosupport sustainable commercial fishing. 

KPMG is also an investor in Australian agtech company The Yield, which has developed a sensor network and software program providing information for Australian oyster farmers and regulators about water quality and potential harvest closures. The Yield was a finalist in the 2017 Microsoft Global Partner of the Year Awards, and company founder and managing director Ros Harvey will also present at the conference.

Industry recognition

Seafood Directions will showcase the best of the Australian seafood industry, including industry leaders who will be recognised across a broad range of activities at the National Seafood Awards. The presentation dinner on Thursday evening will be held at the Convention Centre’s Grand Ballroom.

Award categories include: best primary producer; best business (large and small); safety; research, development and extension; environment; people development; promotion; restaurant; takeaway fish and chips; young achiever; and industry ambassador. New inductees to the National Seafood Hall of Fame will also be announced on the night.

Full conference registration is $790, or $490 for a student, and $480 for commercial harvesters (excluding GST). Day registration is available, as are additional tickets for the National Seafood Industry Awards on Thursday evening.

Economics provides competitive advantage

Photo of oyster

The leaders of the FRDC’s human dimension research subprogram, Sarah Jennings and Emily Ogier, will lead a free pre-conference workshop on Wednesday 27 September at the Sydney Fish Market exhibition room.

Titled ‘Economics for a competitive edge’, the workshop will provide Seafood Directions delegates with an introduction to economic concepts and tools that could help give seafood sector businesses and organisations an advantage with economic insight.

A series of short presentations, case studies and exercises will demystify many of the core concepts of economic thinking (such as opportunity cost, economic profit and time preference).

The presenters will demonstrate several economic tools, including discounting and elasticity, and unpack selected fisheries and aquaculture sector issues through the lenses of price discrimination, principal-agent analysis and the prisoner’s dilemma.

The session will run from 1pm to 4.30pm and will also be an opportunity to learn more about the FRDC’s human dimension research aims and activities.

More information

Seafood Directions

Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community