Australian salmon has long been considered an underutilised species in sufficient catchable volumes across NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South and Western Australia to have potential for greater commercial market value and penetration. However such market development has been curtailed by factors including: poor consumer perception; inconsistent quality and short shelf-life due to harvest methods and infrastructure issues; export barriers and the status of Australian Salmon as an iconic recreational species resulting in concerns recreational catch could be compromised with increased commercial harvest. As well, the commercial catch across the different state jurisdictions is short seasoned and lacking coordination such that harvest of sufficient tonnage for high volume markets has not been possible. Previous projects (2013/711.40; 2008/794) have resulted in optimisation of methodology for post-harvest handling and processing for this species, market investigation and development of a range of consumer tested value-added products, however further market development (whilst present) has been largely curtailed by the issues as described above.
The “Love Australian Prawns” campaign which saw the Australian wild harvest and farmed prawn industries unite shows the potential advantages of taking a national and coordinated approach to market development for Australian seafood. It was considered that such a national approach to developing new opportunities for Australian salmon would alleviate the current challenges in developing new markets principally relating to seasonality and consistent and sustained quality, volume supply. A whole of chain national workshop is considered the first step in developing such a national approach.
Australian Salmon fishers, seafood processors and traders in the hospitality, retail and export markets have committed to work together to improve the profile of this undervalued fish species.
Participants at the first national Australian Salmon workshop held in Melbourne in February 2019 represented all states harvesting the species: Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. They also represented all parts of the seafood supply chain.