Seafood Directions to make community connections
Plans to kickstart action on industry issues, and to bring consumers along on the seafood journey, are part of a new format for the national conference
Story and photo Catherine Norwood
Organisers of the 2019 Seafood Directions, to be held in Melbourne, hope to make the event an opportunity to strengthen connections between producers, the supply chain, key influencers and the broader community.
Seafood Industry Victoria (SIV) is the host organisation for this year’s Seafood Directions. While the program is still being finalised, SIV executive director Johnathon Davey says that in addition to industry presentations, two new initiatives are being developed. One is a series of Seafood Directions satellite events at venues outside the main conference.
“The seafood industry involves more than the producers; as such we’d like to draw in local chefs, restaurants, seafood suppliers and others. We’re planning events at cafes and restaurants, in conjunction with the conference, which will be branded and also ticketed for the general public.
“These will provide a chance for producers, suppliers and chefs to share what they do and why, and to showcase our love for Australian seafood.
“As much as we love what we do, we need the community and seafood consumers to be involved with us and supporting us. We need them to talk about our product too.”
This strategy has proven a successful part of the Apollo Bay Seafood Festival, where a ‘conversations’ program with producers, researchers and chefs has drawn strong interest from food and seafood lovers keen to learn more about where their food comes from.
Johnathon Davey says the committee is also keen to see the conference become “an activation” point for the seafood sector through a series of workshops.
“For example, if plastic is an issue in the seafood sector, we want to provide a workshop for those with an interest in this to come together and develop an action plan that the industry can use to help eliminate plastic in the seafood industry,” he says. “Mental health is an issue in our industry; can we use Seafood Directions to create a work plan to help the industry better recognise and address this problem? We certainly hope so!”
Seafood Directions will open with a welcome and registration event on Wednesday 9 October, followed by the two-day conference with a series of presentations reflecting the state of the sector, the latest research, and issues-related workshops. It will conclude with a gala dinner on the evening of Friday 11 October. The conference itself will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The National Seafood Industry Awards will also be a feature event during the conference, as part of a luncheon on Thursday 10 October, and will include the winners of the National Fish and Chips Awards (see FISH story 'Australia's fish 'n' chippers step back up to the plate').
The FRDC and the Victorian Fisheries Authority have already signed up as sponsors for Seafood Directions 2019. “We’re still seeking further sponsors, and if anyone has ideas about how they would like to be involved, we’d love to hear from them,” Johnathon Davey says.