Seafood CRC: maximising the quality of Australian wild-caught prawns (Quality Assurance)
Jayne M. Gallagher
Despite overwhelming support for industry investment to implement the national prawn market development strategy developed by Brand Council (CRC 2011/736), a major aligned industry concern was the inconsistent quality of, in particular wild caught prawns, and how this inconsistency may have the potential to negatively impact the market development activities. The Australian wild catch prawn industry is widely distributed and characterised by variation in geography, target species, operating/harvest systems, size of vessel and operator capabilities. Additionally, there can be high staff turnover, language and cultural differences and literacy issues. This leads to inconsistent product harvesting, brining, cooling, preserving, packaging and grading and/or inappropriate processing, which causes inconsistent product quality. Such quality issues can be exacerbated by poor handling at both retailer and consumer level. While prawn quality standards have previously been created, there has been little integration, acceptance or uptake of these standards and associated training by indutry More often, standards have been created at fishery, company and vessel level, or are at the request of down chain partners. With considerable industry investment to both develop and implement the national Australian prawn strategy, there is now a greater incentive for the production of a consistent quality product to underpin the Australian prawn strategy messages/activities and ensure the best possible prawn experience for consumers.
1. The Australian prawn market development strategy is underpinned by supply of a consistent, high quality product.
2. To establish, trial, and evaluate the impact of a national, whole of chain, prawn quality program for grading, shelf-life, appearance and provenance of Australian prawns.