Australia cannot successfully compete on national or international commodity seafood markets. Comparatively low volumes and relatively high cost of labour mean that cheap imported prawns (among other seafood products) are favoured by Australian consumers. Yet Australia produces demonstrably superior seafood from sustainably managed fisheries compliant with principles of ecological sustainable development. There is an opportunity and indeed a need to develop and maintain niche markets reflecting a defensible value proposition of quality, safety, and sustainability. There is a need to improve supply chain management to improve product quality and to capture greater efficiency thereby leading to increased profitability. There is a clear need to improve profitability to maintain the viability of the Queensland (and Australian) prawn industry: a need which can be addressed by improving margins and by clearly differentiating Queensland prawns against similar commodity products.
In following the template established by the Clean Green rock lobster program, a clear route to adoption is presented. In the case of Clean rock lobster, research and development activities leading to successful premium market penetration took some ten years. The proposed project will build on this successful integrated product management system in developing auditable workplace standards and reinforcing best practice throughout the supply chain to position Queensland prawns as demonstrably superior. In this way a proactive approach to building consumer awareness of the quality of Queensland prawns will yield the desired economic and social outcomes.
This relates to identified FRDC strategies of incorporating a whole of supply chain approach, including a consumer perspective, to improve value, quality and perceptions. Importantly, the project also targets industry profitably by improving market access and competing more effectively in global seafood markets.