Queensland Government economic recovery grant for tuna fishing industry

Australian Southern bluefin tuna ‘koro’ blocks. Photo by Alistair Douglas.


A not-for-profit fisheries industry group will receive a $50,000 economic recovery grant from the Palaszczuk Government to help tuna fishers rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Tuna Australia successfully applied for a share of the $500,000 Market Diversification and Resilience Grant Program.

“Like other economies around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Queensland businesses hard,” Mr Furner said.

“We are continuing to manage the health response well and that means we can start to deliver Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.

“The Queensland Government is working closely with industry on the economic recovery of the agriculture and fisheries sectors, including agribusiness exporters who support thousands of jobs.

Australian Southern bluefin tuna ‘saku’ fillet. Photo by Alistair Douglas.

“A $50,000 project grant will help Tuna Australia develop a roadmap to support new domestic and export markets for the tuna longline industry, using modified atmospheric packaging.

“The project will investigate the processes, infrastructure requirements, distribution models and available domestic and export markets for extended shelf life tuna loins.

“Tuna Australia is a prime example of an industry group that represents Queensland agribusiness building resilience and finding opportunity from adversity.”

CEO David Ellis said Tuna Australia is exploring options to diversify domestic sales and create market resilience to international and domestic market volatility, in response to COVID-19.

“Current business models focus on high volume bulk sales of whole fish into niche and boutique markets, while the ‘value add’ of tuna loins and portions is usually completed by another party,” Mr Ellis said.

“Removing this step of the process and diversifying into the tuna loin sector would create greater market access and improve economic efficiencies.

With funding support from the Queensland Government, our aim is to create new market opportunities for the longline tuna industry that supports hundreds of direct jobs in regional Queensland.”

Tuna Australia members have been hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic with the significant economic shock to members’ business operations, threatening their economic viability.

More than 150 businesses applied for the first round of the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants Program for COVID-19 affected exporters—part of the Queensland Government’s $27.25 million coronavirus industry economic recovery package.

View the media release on the Queensland Government website

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