Sardines are an undervalued species in South Australia, with the majority of the catch going for tuna feed for an average price of $0.72/kg. The industry has recognised the need to increase the value of the fishery, and that more of the catch has to be turned into value-added products for human consumption. In order to achieve this aim, it has targeted to use at least 10% of the TACC for value-adding.
Three of the licence holders have invested in equipment and processes to produce value-added products. However, individually these businesses are having limited success, struggling to adopt the technical and operational practices that are required to deliver safe, profitable products for human consumption markets both domestically and abroad. This project will provide technical expertise and experimental support to assist them in optimising raw materials, labour and equipment and to develop new products specifically for these markets.
There has been limited success in value-adding sardine products for human consumption in sardine fisheries in Australia. As a result, research has focussed on increasing the value of sardines but has not resulted in products being successfully test marketed/commercialised and evaluated. This is perhaps due to a disconnect in the supply chain between consumers, markets, distribution and processing. We now have the consumer/market intelligence to understand the barriers to sardine acceptability. We can develop products that will overcome these barriers and with the businesses already supplying into the human consumption markets, we have an identified route to market to commercialise and evaluate the success of these new products.
The project offers the opportunity for the three businesses to work together to achieve more than could be individually. They will benefit from the economies of scale that business partnerships have to ultimately deliver safe, profitable products to market for human consumption.