RoyPalmerSnippets from Down Under is authored by Roy Palmer. Since 1972, Roy Palmer has been involved trading seafood and other food products and has traveled the world extensively.

A TV investigation by an ABC program, Four Corners, has revealed that Australian food is being picked, packed and processed by exploited workers and that supermarkets involved (including Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, IGA and Costco) have been benefiting from what they called “extreme labour exploitation, slave-like conditions and black market labor gangs.” Fast-food outlets KFC and Red Rooster were also implicated in the Four Corners program.

If we scratched the surface in other so-called...

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This could be a headline about why you would choose Australian fish over another and be a strong positive article about the industry….. but alas, it is a tale of woe that highlights how an industry constantly fails by not working collaboratively.

My sense of being involved in this industry for over 40 years is that things are probably at a major low.

In Australia, where you have a small population (24 million) in a country nearly as big as the USA; where you have a food retailing sector...

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The USA is ‘treading water’ relating to seafood sales, according to recent excellent research by US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Food Science and Nutrition and Centre for Exercise, Nutrition, and Health Sciences entitled ‘Intake of Seafood in the US Varies by Age, Income, and Education Level but Not by Race-Ethnicity’.

The report highlights that while seafood consumption is increasing in many parts of the world, and some countries have made commitments regarding...

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Supermarkets and other large buyers of seafood have been a driver of certification to move the burden on many issues to the supplier, and this has been both good and bad.

In the case of food safety, one of the most important -- if not the most important – issue is that many of these large buyers created the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

GFSI, according to their website, provides thought leadership and guidance on food safety management system controls necessary to assure the safety...

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Monday 26 January is Australia Day – it is a day celebrated annually and in today’s Australia it is first and foremost a holiday, a day off work, a good reason to blow up more fireworks, heat up the barbie (bar-b-q), have a beer (or a wine for the more refined) and, not to be over sarcastic, reflect on the multi-cultural society we have become and engage in official community awards, and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new immigrants into the Australian community.

In historic terms...

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We start a new year – from the heat down under, I wish you all a happy, healthy and profitable 2015.

I want to start the New Year with an important reminder to everyone in the industry to not forget the basics. Avoiding food recalls by ensuring that seafood staff are adequately trained and ensuring efficient risk management practices are engaged is an essential.

To highlight the problem, a new study has just been published entitled ‘Comparison of Microbiological Food Safety Issues in...

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At the AMSA Maritime 2014 Conference, I had the chance to meet and talk with Australia’s deputy prime minister, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) secretary general, and the incoming Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA) chairman.

Dealing firstly with international issues, Koji Sekimizu, Secretary General of IMO, spoke a little of the past, some of the present and much of the future. Mr. Sekimizu is the seventh-elected secretary general of the International Maritime...

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Day two of the AMSA Conference in Melbourne got under way on Wednesday, 12 November, with two interesting female presenters talking about AMSA’s innovation in technology (I highlight as most of day one was males).

Christine Macmillian, manager, Planning & Business Support at AMSA, spoke about meeting our international obligations regarding people in peril on the sea. In the vast waters that Australia manages (53 million sq. kms), there are about 7,000 incidents per year.

Macmillian gave...

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Marine Safety is big business -- just think of how many vessels there are utilizing the oceans and waterways of the world. Add to that issues such as offshore mining/drilling; search and rescue; navigation and tracking; spillages and other environmental issues, and you start to get a feel for the size of the business.

In Australia, all of the governance for these activities falls under the control of the Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA). In 2012, the Navigation Act 2012 and the Marine...

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Sen. Ron Boswell, retiring from his role next month after 31 years’ service to his beloved Queensland state, gave a strong warning to Australian primary producers (and consumers who value them) to work together, and with the Australian Government, to retain the influence they should have — and deserve to have — over the way their industries operate. 

The Senator said: “What I want to do is leave all Australian primary producers with a warning: take action now to maintain control over the...

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Here is an interesting question as the seafood world centers its activities on Brussels for the Seafood Expo Global — also known to those that have been coming here for years as the European Seafood Exposition. It is all about whether we should drive fisheries and aquaculture together as seafood or treat them as separate items.

It is clear to me that aquaculture would be the winner if they were treated separately, but wild product would not necessarily be the loser.

The issue cropped up on...

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In the last week or so There were three headlines in the last week or so that are well connected to shrimp, sometimes it makes me wonder “what the…?”

The first headline was about the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) increasing the preliminary shrimp duty rates over prior final rates for major U.S. shrimp suppliers in Thailand, Vietnam and India, primarily as the result of the department’s use of a new calculation methodology, which is called “differential pricing.” This new method abandons...

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The opportunity to visit Newport, Oregon and the Aquatic Animal Health Program (AAHP) at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) presented itself whilst attending the American Aquaculture Conference in Seattle last month.

A casual six-hour drive from Seattle (thanks heaps to University of Hawaii’s Tetsuzan Benny Ron for driving) saw arrival in Newport in time for an early dinner with Dr.Tim Miller-Morgan, assistant professor at Oregon State University (OSU) College of Veterinary Medicine...

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The 14th session of the FAO subcommittee on fish trade of the Committee of Fisheries (COFI) came to an end on 28 February 2014 following a full week meeting in Bergen, Norway.

This was my first such meeting and I take a lot away with me from having attended the whole week of activities which were well coordinated by FAO and our gracious hosts, the government of Norway. Here is what I heard and absorbed:

•    The meetings are essential in ensuring that we bring the world along...

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The lead subject document at the FAO COFI meeting in Bergen is on FAO’s activities in the fish trade.

The opening paragraph of the paperwork communicates the seafood sector’s contribution to local and regional food security through direct human consumption being well recognized as is its role in providing nutritional benefits essential to human health and development. Is it? If it is then why are we consistently seeing in countries such as the U.S. and Mexico seafood consumption falling? Why...

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In the global world of seafood Norway is a beacon as a developed country in “professionalizing” operations. They have been on a continual improvement process for many years in both fishing and aquaculture and the development has been in all sectors including government and administration.

Bergen, well known for its Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf, the Fish Market, and surrounding mountains and fjords, such as the Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord, has been the center of some global meetings in the past few...

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It is looking like another exciting year — already so much is happening.
I am currently in a snow-covered Seattle, about to attend the Aquaculture America Conference with a myriad of meetings attached. So while my home state of Victoria is burning following regular 40 degrees Celsius, I am wrapped up trying to keep my body warm from the below zero temperatures outside. Climate issues abound!
I have been asked to take part in the discussion and debate tomorrow at the conference on “How Do We Grow... Read More

I had not been to Mexico for many years and found myself on two trips this year — the first in September and the next in November. On the latter I was invited to attend the Third Economic Forum Fisheries and Aquaculture in Mexico City.

Commissioner Mario Aguilar Sánchez is an impressive operator and is getting some fine people around him as he and the government set about increasing the health of the country by growing seafood consumption.

My trip in September was a whirlwind in that we went...

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Day 2 at SEAFEX was focused on how to make money from our oceans/water responsibly.

The first speaker of the day was Dr. Jed Brown, from the MASDAR Institute, who gave an insight into “Integrated Seawater Aquaculture/Agriculture Project for Bioenergy Production in UAE.” The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi is beginning the development of an integrated seawater aquaculture/agriculture demonstration project to produce biofuels on coastal land in the Western Region of Abu...

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Sometimes you just get good feelings. You know there is journey still to be had but you get the strong feeling that the time involved will be worthwhile. So it is with the SEAFEX MENA Seafood Summit.
The inaugural event as part of SEAFEX Seafood Exhibition, which in itself was part of a massive program, at Dubai World Trade Centre, all of the activities were food related and covered World Hospitality Competitions through to various Trade Shows and meetings. The Association of International...

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Days three and four at the Kagoshima High Value Aquaculture Fin Fish Symposium continued to bring out excellent information. For the second to last day of the event we moved venues from the arena to the Kagoshima University Inamori Memorial Hall. The last day was an excellent field trip to see an Amberjack farm and processing facility first hand.
The third day was started by a presentation from Dong-Feng Deng from the Oceanic Institute Hawaii on the quality control of cultured fish by feed...

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Here we are on World Food Day and we are enjoying the skills and knowledge of the sushi masters at the International Sushi/Sashimi Festival in the Kagoshima Arena. It is fascinating to be absorbed by a different culture as they go through their traditional processes and to see all the businesses that essentially "ride the wave."

The day started with an update by Aiko Yamauchi, WWF, introducing the seriola and cobia aquaculture dialogue (SCAD) that was having a meeting in Kagoshima as one of...

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Day one of the High Value Aquaculture Fin Fish symposium organized by World Aquaculture Society — Asian Pacific Chapter and supported strongly by Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University; National Sushi Association of Japan and Japanese Aquaculture Society got under way at the Kagoshima Arena on 15 October.

From seeing the heavyweights of the Sumo wrestling the arena to seeing the heavyweights of the seafood and sushi industry come together over the next few days, this is a very unique...

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The Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) meeting in Paris, France was kicked off by Wally Stevens, executive director of GAA, and he highlighted that collectively we were falling behind the concept of aquaculture production “doubling in a decade.”

This issue was further highlighted by Jim Anderson (World Bank) & Ragnar Tveteras (University of Stavanger) when they gave an overview of facts and figures on aquaculture around the world.

The main issue was the problems of disease...

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This week in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Committee on Fisheries (COFI) Sub-Committee on Aquaculture are sitting to discuss many issues. For the first time there is a paper on the importance of aquaculture in human nutrition and there is a genuine excitement about this.

The subcommittee is invited to listen to all the evidence and then to guide and advise the secretariat on how to improve FAO’s assistance to Member...

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