National Aquaculture Strategy helps South Australian mussels with new markets in South East Asia and China

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With the development of a new production facility and key partnerships, South Australia-based Eyre Peninsula Seafoods is embarking on a ground-breaking initiative to significantly increase the export of South Australian mussels throughout South East Asia and China. Eyre Peninsula Seafoods (EPS) was created in 2016 and is represented by three premium mussel brands – Kinkawooka Shellfish, Boston Bay Mussels and Spencer Gulf Mussels. Over the last three years the company has experienced significant growth, and the push into SEA and China as part of the government’s National Aquaculture Strategy (NAS) will drive further success.

“The growth of the EPS business could see a further 20 jobs in regional South Australia, along with an increase in the demand for local resources, including packaging, freight, and fuel,” said Andrew Puglisi, Executive Director, Eyre Peninsula Seafoods. “As the South Australian Mussel brand develops this will also create a growing awareness for the region and will have an influence on assisting to grow the international recognition for the region as a seafood capital. The aspiration, of course, is to create the awareness and recognition of South Australia as a premium mussel appellation, which can be used across all markets.”

The new multi-million-dollar production facility in Port Lincoln will allow the company to increase mussel production from 2000T per annum to 3500T, providing the volume required to push into the South East Asian region, and potentially the US and Europe too. The NAS sets out to achieve the goal to double the current value of Australia’s aquaculture industry to $2 billion a year by 2027. The Strategy details the actions government and industry need to take to meet this target through eight priority areas – Regulatory framework; Research, development and extension; Market access; Biosecurity; Public perception; Environmental performance; Investment; and Training and education.

A crucial partner supporting the push into China is Thomas Cappo Seafoods. Based on the huge success of their animal protein division, primarily premium beef products turning more than $2.6 billion in revenue, Thomas Cappo is a leader in Australian food distribution into the valuable market hungry for premium Australian foods. Partnering with Thomas Cappo allows Eyre Peninsula Seafoods to use the networks and relationships built up over many years, especially in China, where relationship marketing is the primary demand for market entry. Damian Cappo, principal of Thomas Cappo Seafoods is a third- generation fishmonger from Adelaide, with a deep and long history in trading seafood.

“China, and in fact that whole region, is not only important in regards to volume of mussels they consume naturally in their food culture, but it’s a great platform into other markets too off the back of any success you might experience,” said Cappo. “But anything into China is difficult because you’re competing globally, but it’s about getting on the ground and understanding the product, the requirements and matching with the correct customer channels and constantly massaging and educating so people understand the product and its value.”

“On top of that, it creates an opportunity to move into Europe and the US who have their own blue mussel industries that are not in season while the South Australian Mussel is. This could allow year-round supply of blue mussels to those markets,” he says.

Written by: Aquaculture Magazine staff

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