2017 Trans Tasman Rock Lobster Congress

Congress Wrap-up, in case you missed it!

The Trans-Tasman Rock Lobster Congress was held from 23 to 25 September at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart. Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgeman opened the Congress that saw nearly 300 delegates attend over the two days. The topics up for presentation and discussion ranged from State rock lobster updates, trade and marketing, research and technology and the latest from New Zealand.

TRLFA President Clive Perryman addresses the Congress

Of particular interest were the international speakers from Norway and Alaska speaking of the Norway King Crab story and the Bering Sea Crab Fishery of “Deadliest Catch” fame. The Norway King Crab presentation from Svein Ruud (founder and CEO of Norway King Crab) was a very interesting presentation of how he took a low value commodity and turned it into the most expensive King Crab in the world. This involved establishing new markets, introducing full traceability and changing the fishery to live export. He now exports to over twenty countries to the elite high end market. The story from Edward Poulsen (Bering Sea Crab Fishing) was a history of his family’s involvement in the various crab fisheries in Alaska. It was a story of huge booms and devastating busts. Lack of effective management, overcapitalisation and over fishing led the fishery to be known as the most dangerous job in the US. According to Edward, today’s fishery is secure and stable due to the rationalisation policies adopted that included a quota system.

A very poignant session was the health presentation from Beyond Blue speaker Joe Brooks “Recognising the Black Dog”. Joe’s personal story was a lesson on recognising anxiety and depression, seeking help and how support from family and friends can make all the difference. (This has just been made even more prominent with the release of a report from Deakin University revealing that fishers are enduring levels of psychological distress almost double that of the general population). The Executive Director of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) Patrick Hone posed some challenges to industry in his presentation, “State of the Nation”. In it he presented a scorecard of Australian lobster fishery functions and services. While the news wasn’t all bad, there is room for improvement in most areas. Of particular note were People Development and Investment in Safety that were short of the 50 per cent mark. His final challenge to industry was to develop a National Industry Rock Lobster Strategy.

A gala Tasmanian seafood dinner was held on the Sunday night, with lobster, oysters, scallops, salmon and Blue eye on the menu. During the evening, a presentation was made to Daryl Sykes from the New Zealand Rock Lobster Industry Council for his services to the rock lobster industries on both sides of the Tasman. A species taste off at the dinner was judged by Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff, Ali Turnbull from South Australia and Rodney Treloggen from Tasmania. Southern Rock Lobster won the award for best lobster amid howls of derision and calls for the judging panel to be investigated – all in good fun.

The final session of the Congress was an “Expert Panel” assembled by Colin Buxton (SRL Chairman) who posed the Congress theme – “Are we on course?” A variety of subjects were discussed between the panel and audience with the outcome that generally most fisheries were “on course”. There are some fisheries ahead of the game in some areas and others leading the field in others. The challenge is for the spirit of cooperation that was a large part of this Congress to manifest into tangible outcomes for the whole rock lobster fishery. There has been a beginning of this process, with exporter groups from both sides of the Tasman meeting to discuss generic marketing strategies and Fishing representative bodies being part of those discussions.
An air of optimism and opportunity has emanated from this Congress, the outcomes will be measured at the next Congress in Queenstown, New Zealand in 2019.

Last session panel discussion on Congress Theme –L-R Malcolm Lawson (CRA8 New Zealand), John Ritchie (Geraldton Fishermen’s Co Op), Matt Taylor (Western Rock Lobster Council), Michael Blake (TRLFA/TRLPA), Caleb Gardner (UTAS/IMAS), Marcus Nolle (Victorian Rock Lobster Association)
A big thankyou to all our sponsors for their generous support of the Congress.

Presentations fro
m all speakers can be downloaded below:

1030 - Matt Taylor
1050 - Kyri Toumazos
1110 - Nathan Kimber
1130 - John Sansom
1150 - Markus Nolle
1210 - Mark Cranstone
1330 - Wayne Hosking
1400 - Caleb Gardner
1430 - Jayson Semmens
1530 - Tim Hunt
1550 - Svein Ruud

0900 - Patrick Hone
0920 - Malcom Lawson
0940 - Mark Edwards
1100 - Dallas D_Silva
1130 - Jill Briggs
1400 - Daryl Sykes
1420 - Alison Turnbull
1420 - Hilary Revill
1440 - Edward Poulsen
1600 - Steve Radeski
1620 - Panel Discussion

Victorian Tagging Program Video

FRDC Video- the Good the Bad and the Ugly

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