The Northern Territory seafood sector has turned heads in Sydney, taking out three trophies at the National Seafood Industry Awards.
In a further coup for the NT, one of our long-time commercial fishermen was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, was at the event to support the local industry, and said the awards show the sector has a bright future.
“A strong seafood industry delivers more local jobs and there is huge potential for growth in the sector,” Mr Vowles said. “Clearly we are doing something right in the Territory – we had seven finalists and three winners in these awards.”
Winner of the People Development Award was the Australian Maritime & Fisheries Academy for its Commercial Fishing Operations Skills for Northern Territory Indigenous Communities program.
“This is a joint initiative with the NT Government that sees Aboriginal residents in remote communities learn the skills they need to take part in the seafood industry,” Mr Vowles said.
“Combined with the NT Government’s Aboriginal Coastal Licences program, which allows them to catch and sell a variety of fish, it has resulted in a flourishing commercial fishing business in Maningrida. I saw the success of this for myself when I visited the community recently to present graduates with their Certificate II and Coxswains qualifications. This program is creating real jobs for Aboriginal Territorians, and this award recognises its value.”
Another Territory success story to take home an award was Humpty Doo Barramundi. They won the Business Award (Large).
“A family business, Humpty Doo Barramundi has rapidly expanded over recent years and distributed 1800 tonnes of barra nationwide in 2016,” Mr Vowles said.
“Recently, through the NT Government’s Memorandum of Cooperation with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, they began sending their fish to restaurants in Sydney, Singapore and Tokyo for sashimi trials, and they are also the first aquaculture business in the Northern Territory to gain Best Aquaculture Practice certification, which is a huge achievement.”
The third NT winner was Frying Nemo Fish & Chippery in Darwin, which took out the Take-Away Fish and Chips Award. Fish and chips were rated against a set of five criteria – taste, service, choice, information and labelling. A national judge described Frying Nemo as “easily the best meal I’ve had in four visits to the Top End”.
“The eatery was up against hundreds of fish and chip shops nationwide, and the judges travelled 22,000km for tastings all over the country,” Mr Vowles said.
“Everyone loves take-away fish and chips, and to see a small local business beat hundreds of others is fantastic.”
And finally, commercial fisherman Bill Passey of Australia Bay Seafoods was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his visionary approach and commitment to fishing in the NT.
“Bill is one of the largest operators in the NT and has shown strong and strategic leadership,” Mr Vowles said. “This recognition is well-deserved.”
The other NT finalists were: Ambassador Award Chris Calogeras; Business Award (Small) Monsoon Aquatics; Primary Producer Award Australia Bay Seafoods; Restaurant Award Saffrron Restaurant.
Source: NT Government