Seafood Industry Australia CEO Jane Lovell resigns

Published on
April 9, 2020

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national body that represents the wild catch, aquaculture, and post-harvest sectors, announced on 9 April the resignation of its chief executive officer, Jane Lovell.

Lovell was hired as the group’s inaugural CEO in September 2017. The industry group gave no reason for the departure, but said the resignation was “effective immediately.” On her LinkedIn page, Lovell is listed as the CEO of Melbourne, Australia-based Organic Systems and Solutions, a private company working on development and certification of organic products, but neither Lovell nor the company confirmed the appointment.

The resignation comes at a difficult time for SIA’s members, as the coronavirus crisis has resulted in the evaporation of exports to China, a top destination for Australian seafood, as well as a collapse of prices in the domestic market. Lovell had helped lead negotiations with the federal and various state governments to get help for industry members. Earlier this month, Australia’s government approved an AUD 110 million (USD 67 million, EUR 61 million) aid package focused on keeping the industry afloat and helping it to revive its exports.

As recently as yesterday, Lovell was doing interviews with local media, including an article in Australia’s Financial Review in which she discussed the challenging situation the seafood industry is facing.

“It has been really, really bad for us. From 24 January, our orders disappeared. People lost export markets in a day,” she said.

In the interview, Lovell praised the aid package but said fishermen were not getting the same treatment and support from the government as Australia’s farmers.

“The grim truth is that when it was just us getting knocked for six, there was no assistance. When the whole economy collapses, we get a bit of help,” she said.

SIA Chairperson Veronica Papacosta, the managing director of Sydney Fresh Seafood Group, will act as CEO until an interim CEO is appointed.

“On behalf of the SIA board, staff, and our body of members, we want to thank Jane for her passionate advocacy,” Papacosta said in a press release. “Her departure marks a period of transformation and growth for SIA, and now it is time for us to look towards the future. Jane served the industry tirelessly during her tenure, we thank her for her leadership and passion. We wish her every success in her future endeavors."

Photo courtesy of Seafood Industry Australia

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