There is little opportunity for fishers in the SESSF to increase profitability. All major species have been allocated quotas, and there is little scope to increasing quotas with all species fully exploited or overfished. While much research has focused on the collection of biological data, assessment of the status of fish stocks and the impact of fishing on the environment (Knuckey 2004) there is a need to investigate value adding to species currently captured by the fishery.
Silver warehou is one of the most promising low-value species to trial for value adding. At present there is little demand from the consumer public with its off white colour when filleted, large catches of it are landed during winter months depressing the price. Many hundreds of tonnes of this species is currently discarded at sea due to lack of markets.
The cost of establishing new markets for both the flathead and school whiting were considerable and borne solely by Consolfish, though all fishers benefited from the higher prices. The products were so successful that Consolfish can no longer afford to process small to medium flathead as the high price at the wharf makes it unviable.
Silver warehou is a relatively unfamilar fish to oversees processors. This project is needed to develop a consumer friendly product and then organise the processing techniques, further training and production planning. The Thai processors have indicated they are keen to process the fish and the Woolworth supermarket chain have indicated they will be willing to stock it on a trial basis. Promotion of the product will be required and will be undertaken at Consolfish expense.