Advertising blitz to steer CQ towards buying local seafood
RESTRICTIONS preventing people from enjoying locally caught seafood at restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic have cost CQ's fishing industry dearly but a new $4 million advertising campaign promises to help the industry back onto its feet.
With the imminent scaling back of restrictions and diners flocking back to our local restaurants, the timing couldn't better to nudge consumers towards purchasing local seafood options.
Always looking to purchase a variety of freshly caught seafood from commercial fishers around our region before onselling them to local hospitality establishments, Rockhampton-based Glenmore Seafoods will benefit from the Federal Government's advertising blitz.
Manager of the business for the past eight years, Jon Bush said they stocked about 80 per cent locally caught seafood.
"We deal directly with fishermen in the surrounding area from up towards Charters Towers and down towards Bundaberg," Mr Bush said.
"Outside of that, we do also deal with other seafood suppliers across Australia."
Their 20 per cent stock of imported fish catered to a niche market for customers shopping on a budget.
Although local seafood couldn't compete on price against imported option, he said there was a strong demand in the community for the local product.
"We answer phone calls every day asking if we've had anymore fresh local fish come in," he said.
"Every single one of those phone calls, they never ask about imported, they're always after the local fillets."
Glenmore Seafoods supplies local seafood to a number of Rockhampton businesses including Bully reader's favourite Leanne's On Berserker, Mummas Fish 'N' Chips, Samos Fish Bar, Motel 98, Sun Palms Motel and Pacino's Restaurant.
On the Capricorn Coast, they supply Zilzie Takeaway, Afishionados, Kinka Kippa, and Waterline Restaurant.
Mr Bush said the pandemic restrictions had reduced their seafood sales to the region's restaurants in recent month but fortunately that's been offset by an upswing in retail sales from customers wanted to try their hands cooking at home.
While he was upbeat about the buy local seafood advertising campaign, Mr Bush said he would like to see fishing industry's red tape slashed on net closures, quotas, tagging and other generalised restrictions.
On the Capricorn Coast, Rosslyn Bay Fish Markets provides a steady supply of locally sourced seafood to both residents and local businesses including the Park Avenue Hotel, Leanne's on Berserker, Afishionados and the Waterline Restaurant.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the CQ seafood sector has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, with Australian seafood businesses losing more than half its total value which traditionally flowed from exports.
"When this is combined with the closure of food service industry at home, total demand for Australian 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," Ms Landry said.
Launching in the coming months, the Federal Government's $4 million advertising campaign will target Australians through every medium, from TV to print and social media.
"This advertising campaign will help to turn that around, and encourage locals to eat our healthy, sustainable seafood," she said.
"This campaign is an Australian first. It's hard to believe, but we've never had a nationwide campaign promoting our entire seafood sector - until now.
"The funding will deliver a national campaign led by the sector's peak representative group, Seafood Industry Australia."
Ms Landry was confident locals would get behind this campaign given that "Aussie seafood is the best in the world".
In recent months, State LNP leader Deb Frecklington has proposed a seafood labelling plan making it easier for consumers to buy local and support local by making it compulsory for imported seafood to be labelling in restaurants and fish and chip shops.
Ms Landry backed the State LNP's seafood labelling plan saying it would be easier for consumers to buy and support local.
"It makes sense for seafood to have country of origin labelling when a great deal of other products have it too," she said.
"I believe more locals will buy local seafood if they knew where it was coming from."
The labelling plan has been opposed by the Queensland Government with Fisheries Minister Mark Furner warning that it could add significant red tape and costs to an industry trying to fight back against the impacts of coronavirus.
"Forcing these small businesses to change menus and promotional material daily depending on fish supply seems harsh," Mr Furner said.
"Businesses are free to promote local seafood now. They don't need the Queensland Government enforcing it through expensive regulations that would make it harder to do business."