As part of its responsibility to plan and invest in fisheries research, development and extension (RD&E) activities in Australia, the FRDC was asked to undertake an initiative that listens to and captures the thoughts of the fishing and aquaculture community about marketing. In particular, the role marketing could play in the fishing and aquaculture industry, the challenges it could assist in overcoming and the benefits it could offer in the future. The FRDC has approached this initiative by embarking on its largest ever program to talk to industry feedback about what type of market activities it wants.
The goal is for FRDC to understand the long term aspirations of businesses and of the industry as a whole as well as identifying priorities, and finally what is the industry ultimately prepared to invest in, to market its seafood and products.
On 12 December 2013 the Rural Research and Development Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 was passed by Federal Parliament amending the FRDC enabling legislation, the Primary Industries Research and Development Act (PIRD) 1989. These amendments extend the scope and range of activities the FRDC can undertake to include marketing and promotion for its stakeholders where a marketing levy is in place.
The legislative changes will allow the FRDC to be like the other RDC's (beef, dairy, horticulture, etc.) and connect and activate research, development and extension with marketing, as part of a natural progression to improve outcomes for the industry.
This means for the first time, since the FRDC was established the fishing and aquaculture businesses across Australia are on the same footing as other primary industries who have a way to coordinate marketing functions.
Importantly, however, implementation of such an initiative requires the input, willingness and support of the industry.
Australian fisheries management and the fishing and aquaculture industry in general, have a very positive story to tell about the contribution it makes to Australia on an economic, social and environmental level. This story is supported by sound, independent science and management practices that are recognised on a world scale.
Marketing as a whole of industry could play a vital role in the ability to tell this story to the general public, consumers and other influencers of the industry, in an effective and memorable manner.
Exploring and participating in how the marketing function for the fishing and aquaculture industry will be built is a unique opportunity. It means the seafood industry can learn from other sectors and put in place a system that will work for everyone. But it will require the whole of the industry to consider and provide their views to ensure the right outcome for industry is achieved.