Tuna Australia Board commits to drive thriving, sustainable industry

Wild tuna swimming in the ocean. Photo by Al McGlashan.

The Tuna Australia Board has vowed to continue supporting members to ensure a sustainable and thriving industry after the Board was confirmed at the Tuna Australia AGM on 16 November 2023.

“We remain steadfast in our mission to serve our industry and assist members to be sustainable, profitable and innovative,” said Chair Ian Cartwright, who joined the Board in July 2023.

In 2024, the Board will remain focused on addressing issues with Statutory Fishing Rights to improve resource access, exploring Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT), improving profitability, enhancing market opportunities, and improving safety and workforce development.

“The Board has provided significant and valuable support to the industry over the last eight years, loudly advocating for members and supporting them with progressive and strategic opportunities,” said Ian.

“We won’t waver from this mission, and I thank outgoing director Hayley for her many years of dedication and passion for supporting the Board and industry.”

2024 priorities

The Board consists of six existing directors, elected to continue their roles, with the only change being Kate Lamason replacing Hayley Abbott.

The full Board is made up of Adam Whan (4Seas), Cathal Farrell (Upscale Seafoods), Daryn Logan (Sniper Fishing), Joe Basile (Angelica Fisheries), Kate Lamason (Little Tuna and Cairns Little Seafood Market), Terry Romaro (Ship Agencies Australia) and Daniel Lavalle (DDD Lavalle Fisheries).

The directors each bring diverse skills and unique perspectives from their respective geographical areas.

“Next year, we [the Board] want to highlight the amazing recovery of SBT, which is now eligible for MSC certification,” said Daniel Lavalle, owner of Fisco 1 in Ulladulla.

Daniel said the Board is interested in exploring SBT certification, providing an independent stamp that the species is well managed.

This will help the fishermen to assure consumers that SBT is sustainably caught and a well-managed species.

“It will also support access to new markets locally and overseas and maintain and grow existing markets.”

Welcome Kate Lamason

Kate Lamason of Little Tuna.

Kate Lamason is the newest addition to the Tuna Australia Board, bringing a passion for the Australian tuna industry.

“I have been involved in the Australian tuna fishing industry for over 14 years. My husband has operated a longline fishing boat, and we have established our value-added company, Little Tuna.

“Our journey has led us to ownership of the family processing and exporting facility in North Queensland, working with the local longliners to process their catch.”

In 2023, Kate participated in the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program with support from Tuna Australia.

I strongly believe there is a need for more women to be in leadership roles in the seafood sector.”

She hopes the Board can assist Tuna Australia members with addressing new and ongoing challenges.

“We are transitioning from the ongoing effects of COVID to a new economic climate, and other challenges are around regulation, market access and safety,” explained Kate.

“The Board will help members consider the sustainability of the industry as well as innovative opportunities, strong consumer awareness and community engagement.

“We are an industry with strong leadership, working together to find solutions to the current challenges.”

Farewell to Hayley Abbott

Hayley Abbott (centre) served seven years on the Tuna Australia Board. Photo by Aimee Abbott.

Kate replaced outgoing director Hayley Abbott, who joined the Tuna Australia Board in 2017, taking over from her father John Abbott.

Reflecting on her seven years as a Board director, she said setting up Tuna Australia was a huge challenge.

“We had to try and get every vessel owner and quota owner on board to support and see the value in what Tuna Australia brings to individual operators, larger companies, co-ops and the great seafood industry in Australia,” she said.

“That we achieved this initially and have continued to bring worth, support and vision to our industry is something we only dreamed of originally.

“It is the highlight of my time on the Board.”

Hayley credits the Tuna Australia executive committee and Chair for the organisation’s ongoing success.

“This would not have been possible without their extensive knowledge and experience of national and international fisheries and government organisations,” she said.

“Their guidance and hard work are why Tuna Australia remains one of Australia's leading seafood industry bodies.”

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