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How would you spend $4 million?

Interesting development in Australia, which relies on seafood imports for around 75% of its seafood consumption, is the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam of $4 million in funding for Australia’s first national marketing campaign to promote Australian seafood.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the campaign would use strategic, high-impact messaging to promote Australian seafood.

“Australian seafood is the best in the world and as we map out the economy recovery post-pandemic, we are doing everything possible to help our fisheries industry,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Minister Littleproud said the campaign would support our seafood industry and our regional communities recovery from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Australian seafood sector has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, as more than half its total value traditionally flows from exports,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Combined with the closure of foodservice industry at home, total demand for our seafood has dropped by up to 80 per cent for some species, with prices falling by up to two thirds impacting on the profitability of our fishers.

“This $4 million investment will support the survival and recovery of one of our nation’s great sustainable Australian resource industries.”

Assistant Minister Duniam said the campaign would support all sectors in the seafood industry, from fishers and processors right through to those in foodservices.

“It’s great to land this funding on behalf of Aussie fishing and seafood industries, who have been to hell and back in recent months,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“The dramatic drop in international exports coupled with hospitality closures at home caused a dramatic drop in demand, forced fishing crews off the water and major disruptions to supply chains – particularly across regional Australia.

“This campaign will help to turn that around, and encourage Australians to eat our healthy, sustainable seafood.

“This is an Australian first. It’s hard to believe, but we’ve never had a nationwide campaign promoting our entire seafood sector – until now.

“I know Australians will get behind this, because Aussie seafood is the best in the world and there has been no better time to eat Australian seafood.”

The funding will deliver a national campaign led by the sector’s peak representative group, Seafood Industry Australia.

The campaign will reach Australians through every medium, from TV to print and social media and will be launched in the coming months.

Seafood Industry Australia Interim CEO Veronica Papacosta said the campaign would provide a much needed boost to Australia’s seafood industry.

“A national approach to marketing has been a long time coming, and it will be our job to ensure a united approach remains a focus for industry moving forward,” Ms Papacosta said.

“Australian seafood is the best in the world, our commercial fisheries are global leaders in sustainability and it’s time we celebrated an undisputed national icon.

“This campaign will be designed with one clear, simple message to eat Australian seafood. So, let’s throw another prawn on the barbie and Eat Seafood, Australia!”

Spin aside, the question is this the best and most sustainable manner to invest in the Australian Seafood Industry. There is general excitement but is that just an immediate knee jerk to the fact that the industry has been recognised.

Media promotion must be consistent over many years to get behaviour change and one must wonder if the funds could be better invested in ensuring that the customer gets a better outcome when engaging with the industry by ensuring that every retailer selling seafood was trained. This would ensure a longer term outcome for the industry because we know that today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s fish and chip package!

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