A $1,926,000 Australian Government grant to Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative Limited (GFC) will diversify the product range to expand into new international markets for Australian lobster exports.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the funding would expand export market opportunities in Asia, Europe and the Americas supporting the many family-owned fishing businesses that make up the GFC and the lobster industry.
“Australian seafood is among the best in the world, and this grant will help to sell that message internationally and provide those markets with new and diverse products,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Producers now have access to Mexico for frozen Eastern Rock, Western Rock, Tropical Rock, Southern Rock and Slipper lobsters which provides our industry with further diversification opportunities.
“GFC estimates that the ATMAC grant will increase their customer base by around 20 per cent over 18 months from completion of the project, with high quality lobster exports expected to make their way to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Dubai, France, Spain, Italy the USA and the new markets of South Korea and Mexico.
“The enhancement and modernisation of rock lobster processing facilities will increase domestic processing capacity and lead to a surge of value-added exports to high value markets.
“Increased sales of high-quality lobster products will boost profitability, benefiting those employed right along the supply chain, and future proofing the industry.”
Minister for Science and Technology and Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said this grant further supports an important Midwest industry.
“The local industry has taken a whack from events like supply chain restrictions and the impact of COVID 19 in the past two years,” Minister Price said.
“It is predominantly a local industry made up of family businesses, local employees and significant capital investment, so providing some support to sustain this industry through these challenging times is a vote of confidence in a hardworking export earning industry.
“I have long championed the importance of diversifying the Midwest economy so investments like this one provide more opportunities to achieve that too.”
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said the grant will provide more opportunities for the Australian rock lobster industry.
“Australia is the third largest producer of wild-caught lobster in the world, so improving market access for our seafood exporters, including access to new markets is a priority for our government,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.
“That is why we have invested in supporting the industry through the Agribusiness Expansion Initiative and the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation programs.
“Not only does this grant provide diversification for GFC, but it also helps protect its partner co operatives in South Australia and Tasmania from future market shocks.”
CEO of GFC Matt Rutter said the grant means that lobster products can be more tailored to meet specific market specifications and consumer demand.
“The grant will see us producing a more diversified range of products for an increasingly dynamic global market,” Mr Rutter said.
- GFC represents over 300 fishing farming family businesses across 1000 kilometres of coastline in WA, SA and Victoria.
- $15.3m in grant funding has been committed through ATMAC, a component of the Australian Government’s Agri-Business Expansion Initiative (ABEI).
- The Australian government has invested $85.9 million through ABEI to help Australia’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries diversify and expand their export markets.